Album of the Week: Pond – Tasmania (2019 LP)

We’re a matter of days away from the release of Pond’s eighth studio album, Tasmania. Pond declares Tasmania something of a sister missive to their critically acclaimed 2017 album The Weather. The thematics of both albums are kindred in many respects. Tasmania explores place, history, hints of colonialism, and nature’s unfortunate submission towards humans – themes that echo a strong call to their last work.

This album seems to be drawing closer, however, circling in on what The Weather only flirtatiously hinted at. Where The Weather was considered a place that is no place, a planet that isn’t quite there, a Perth that isn’t Perth, Tasmania is very much ingrained in not so much the now but the echoes of Tasmania’s history.

To be honest, on a personal level I’ve not heard the word Australia sung so many times since I was instructed to sing the national anthem at school assembly every morning. The word is dotted across several tracks, like puncture marks from a shark upset someone invaded its home or bullet holes sprayed against a wall. It makes Tasmania quite definitive. It’s not a universal message up for interpretation. This album is rooted in the pain of place.

We’re opened to this place with the previously released single, “Daisy” before rolling right into the other prior release “Sixteen Days”. If “Daisy” is formed in daylight and “Sixteen Days” is a love affair with the lights of the night, then everything else from this point on the album is a space time odyssey flying past solar systems of synths and pop sensation super novas.

The titular track, “Tasmania” is best described as expansive. As if drawing in all the beauty of Tasmania’s natural landscapes and the sadness of Tasmania’s past, this song results in star-twinkling synths and huge sweeping guitar solos to make your heart swell.

In some ways it’s quite a cruel trap to feel so safe, just before the album takes a turn to “The Boys Are Killin’ Me”. An exploration into 1996, the year of the Port Arthur Massacre and all the other things wrong with a young man’s world, with an uncomfortably, catchy melody.

“Shame” is by the far the most progressive on the album. Pond have been acclaimed before for being able to tease out experimental music while still being just accessible enough for everyone, like taunting the edge of the world while never falling off. Moving somewhere much darker, bringing out similar sounds to electronic musicians like Lorn, the song is a dive into the dark.

Pond has successfully developed another studio album with many shades and sides. No doubt, Kevin Parker’s hand in producing and mixing has helped in giving it dimensions too. Ultimately, I’m excited to see Pond continue to mature and deliver more of this kind of high concept album work – songs of substance in an industry that is polluted with banality and superfluousness.

FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

POND will release their eighth studio album Tasmania on Friday 1 March via Spinning Top Records.

Pond will be touring nationally on the following dates. Tickets can be purchased HERE

Sun March 3rd | Astor Theatre, Perth WA (All Ages)
Tue March 5th | The Triffid, Brisbane QLD (18+)
Wed March 6th | Metro Theatre, Sydney NSW (All Ages)
Thu March 7th | The Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne VIC (18+)

Header Image by Pooneh Ghana

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