pond

Crummy rhymes with the word “grace” notwithstanding, Pond’s opening gambit nearly had me dancing around in my Summertime Clothes. (Or, to take a reference both slightly more apposite and probably too obscure, havin’ a riot For Reverend Green.) Next, I’m asked to get Close To Me by a bassline chock-full of a funk that Robert Smith would never have allowed but probably secretly desired all along. And this quick one-two is at least semi-convincing: both ‘Waiting Around For Grace’ and lead-single ‘Elvis’ Flaming Star’ compensate for what they lack in melodic gainliness with the colour and energy of the best extroverted psych rock.

For, on their eighth studio album, the Australian group’s psychedelia finds its ecstasy via movement rather than meditation. Or it does at first. See, from here on it all comes over a bit middle-period Flaming Lips, but without the strange simplicity that kept ‘The Soft Bulletin’ (and ‘Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots’, at a push) from excessive sluggishness. And in the absence of the uncanny aura of those records, ‘Man, It Feels Like Space Again’ too often strays into a barely-updated late-Beatles pastiche, not least during the lumbering title track which recalls ‘Abbey Road’’s closing medley both in its meandering weightlessness and misguided ambition.

Pond’s space rock is all ‘Sun King’ with no ‘Her Majesty’ to bring us back down to earth.

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