Single Review – Pond – “Elvis” Flaming Star

Perth’s Pond are to return with their sixth studio album on January 26th in their recent announcement for Man it feels like Space Again. Following on from last year’s Hobo Rocket; current and former Tame Impala members such as Nick Allbrook, Jay Watson and Cam Avery will be looking to better their fifth studio effort which was solid and musically flamboyant, yet this did not stretch out to the whole album which was at times lacking diversity. It was in fact one of the few weak points of the album which leaves a lot of optimism for their next LP. Their new track ‘”Elvis” Flaming Star’ has a more indelible rhythmic twist in comparison to their previous year’s work, with the hand claps, snappy percussion and sharp rhythm guitar sections. These are anchored by a rapid bass line and strung out via the echoed and loose fitting vocals. The track’s structure momentarily falls through the trap draw for a spaced out interlude before launching back into the infectious rhythms. A bold and exciting track that bodes well for their January release.

Sunday Suggestion – Tame Impala – Solitude Is Bliss

A lot of people fell in love with Tame Impala with Lonerism last year with the refined use of distortion and reverb along with excellent use of space and soundscapes. It was a inconceivable piece of neo-psychedelica and for me the best album of 2012. It’s no wonder that many have jumped on board now. However, for me it was the Innerspeaker album that really got me excited about Tame Impala back in 2010. The sound was a little cleaner and there was less emphasis on the waves of sound from Lonerism. Elements were more distinguishable and the structure more apparent. You could still appreciate the small bursts of modulated sounds and the echo of Kevin Parkers vocal. ‘Solitude Is Bliss’ is evocative of what is a skilful debut album from them. The song broken up and structured around the intervals from the distorted rhythm guitar that fades in with the crashing cymbals. The bass has an excellent tuneful quality about it that drives through the verses and even has a melodic feel to it. Kevin’s vocals are stretched across all the other elements so effortlessly. The slight wind down in the music allows for a great kick back into the chorus. The song churns and elbows it’s way around to a fantastic conclusion while maintaining the fundamentals of rhythm and melody.

http://youtu.be/vxvf7gR4-2M

Image from en.wikipedia.org 

Pond – Hobo Rocket Review

There is so much hype and expectation surrounding Pond with whatever they do. In part it’s no surprise given that the majority of the Perth band is made up of past of present members of Tame Impala. For this year the excitement is even more when you consider just how damn good Lonerism from Tame Impala was last year. However there is one thing that strikes me as soon as I look at the track listing for Hobo Rocket and that’s the lack of one. Seven songs is more leaning towards an EP than anything else! But perhaps in this case it’s quality over quantity in deciding whether you are getting your money’s worth.

‘Giant Tortoise’ just smacks you in the face with hugely distorted guitars and bass and could knock you out there and then. I develops into a more synth and bass affair with the vocals starting for a verse or two of soft, echoed and distorted vocal before hurling itself into a massive, isolated guitar solo flanked by the same distorted madness that started the song before going back again. With even the drums being distorted a lot at the close of the song. I think they’ve done a wise thing in separating the vocals from the main guitar parts as it would almost impossible to sing though it as there is so little space in the song in those parts. I may as well go ahead and compare them to Tame Impala and Kevin Parker is much better at leaving acres of space around the elements of the song and they can utilise it. Here, the sounds are still isolated, despite the echo on them and it gives them the only choice of removing them for the vocal parts. This is a shame as they are a great but maybe that was in their thinking. The guitar parts are some prominent that they have a similar role to the vocal in that song which is pretty smart don’t you think? ‘Xanman’ starts off with a cracking deep bass line which is always enjoyable. A more toned down guitar riff joins in with a more shouty vocal which works well with the bass which switches to more catchy and snappy moments on the verses and into more ‘groovy’ dream like moments on the bridge and chorus. The percussion mimics this too to move from mainly cymbal based on the chorus to the opposite on the verses. The guitar solo’s too that g on in the background are very isolated too and compliment the vocal. But at times it feels like everything is at another frequency and that there’s almost no room for manoeuvre with it which again is a shame as if they just toned it down a tiny. tiny bit; then it would be great. But it’s by no means bad though. Still a good song.

‘Hobo Rocket’ starts off with a countdown and a lift off recording with some guy called Cowboy John rambling about flying through the universe or something as the music kicks in with the distortion, deep bass and energetic percussion. ‘Aloneaflameaflower’ starts off with a huge distorted guitar riff and fades and distorts some more before bursting into a more Tame Impala like sound but perhaps with even heavier bass lines. I think this is why it’s one of the bests tracks for me and all of them are of a good standard but it’s almost like the effects are taking the edge off the music. It’s good music but not amazing as there is no room to breathe at some points and if there was a tiny bit less distortion and effects then it would be as good as anything Tame Impala have done. It just seems like their idea has trapped them but on the other hand it sounds like they are having the time of their life too as they’re all just going mental with their roles which I think is fun also.

Pond – Hobo Rocket = 7/10

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Class of 2012 – Tame Impala

 

Tame Impala – Lonerism had enough synths, reverbs and enough psychadelic twists and turns to send you back in time to 1967. They took what they had with Innerspeaker in 2010 and strapped it to some psychedelic rocket which blasted off into space. That is the only meaningful way i can describe it. Second albums proved tricky for some this year but Lonerism was a definitive evolution of Innerspeaker: They retained the main elements of the guitar sound from 2010 but then littered the album with synths and samples to create what Kevin Parker wanted, saying: “I want the songs to be like waves that hit you rather than you swimming in an ocean of melody”. That was exactly what they did. The instumental sections of ‘Elephant’ and throughout ‘Apocalypse Dreams’ to name a few; hit you with these waves of sound that usually start with a clash of cymbals but then leads on to a very different song progession each time. Add to this how Parker managed to pack together so many different elements to each song while still creating space to allow each element to blend together in that wave of sound: this makes the whole album interesting and new with each listen. The comparison with The Beatles music in 1966 and 67 can be made when listening to ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ from the Revolver album which would make a snug fit onto the track listing of Lonerism. However they do evolve the Beatles songs from that time instead of copying them by fusing them with early 70s references to create an album that finally seems to be evolving the music of the 60s and 70s rather than repeating it. Tame Impala – Lonerism = 10/10