REVIEW: Pond’s Tasmania

The eighth studio album from Fremantle psychedelic rock outfit, Pond, is their most spacey, atmospheric and cohesive yet. With glittery synths and punchy drums that support their most gloomy and introspective lyrics to date, Tasmania reveals Pond’s growth and versatility in an often-stagnant music scene.

In an era where music has become focused on style over substance, with an abundance of rappers boasting about their wealth and material goods over booming trap beats, it is easy to forget that music has often been used as a vehicle for important messages to be delivered. Pond clearly hasn’t fallen in the ‘trap’ (pardon the pun) of producing music that merely sounds good. If anything, the messages echoed on Tasmania bring substance and passion to their most thought-provoking project yet.

Billed as a ‘sister album’ to their 2017 release The Weather, Tasmania concerns a similar environmental topic: climate change. Nick Allbrook, Jay Watson and Joe Ryan take turns to warn of the impending apocalypse over some groovy, smooth and all-too-soothing instrumentals.

Pond’s solution to the problems the Earth is facing is not hard to guess. After all, it’s the title of the album. With lyrics such as “I might go shack up in Tasmania. Before the ozone goes. And paradise burns in Australia.”, it seems as though the Apple Isle may be the only safe place if climate change isn’t addressed.

The album begins with Daisy, arguably the catchiest of the ten songs. Bookended by soft and moody strings, the bassline and groove are reminiscent of Tame Impala’s Currents, while the lyrics throughout Daisy are some of the most gorgeous Tasmania has to offer (“It’s spring and the cherry blossoms sprout. The legs are out, and the bronzed chests. And fires bejewelling the South West”).

Another of my favourite songs is The Boys Are Killing Me, which tells the story of a drunken night out and is wonderfully complemented by an instrumental that is straight out of the 1980s. Although there are a few standout songs, Tasmania is not a collection of hits. Instead, all ten songs come together to form one of the most solid and enjoyable projects released in 2019.

Tasmania is packed full of deep, self-reflective lyrics about the dangers our environment is facing, as well as the battle society faces between selfishness and altruism. When notoriously laid-back rockers begin to ask questions such as “Should I be worried ’bout my kidney or worried ’bout war?”, you know it’s time to take stock of the world around us. Pond has never strayed too far from introspection and reflection, but it feels as though seeing the world around them being destroyed has made the group more desolate and helpless than ever.

For those wondering if Pond is just a Tame Impala spin-off, there is a connection. While Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker, has had a hand in producing all of Pond’s albums, and Allbrook, Watson and Ryan have all toured as members of Tame Impala, until the release of Tasmania, Pond has never seemed to be mimicking their Western Australian counterparts.

Their relationship was that of friends who had the same passion and similar inspirations. But Tasmania marks the first time the two groups’ relationship has become more familial, with the big brother handing down some advice to little brother. The question is: why didn’t they do this earlier?

Although Tasmania sometimes relies heavily on the thick, buttery basslines and groovy melodies that made Tame Impala’s Currents a smash-hit, the galactic and glamorous atmosphere cultivated by Parker allows for the album’s introspective moments to flourish. For all the talk of destruction and confusion throughout Tasmania, Pond manages to keep listeners upbeat and interested thanks to their masterfully crafted instrumentals and some beautiful lyrics. Eight albums down, Pond seems to never stop growing. Hopefully they have found their voice and they continue to let that grow too.

If you want to listen to Tasmania, check it out on Spotify here.