The album starts off strong with Song for Agnes. We are served a vocal intro with has flavours of Aussie eletronica that rolls straight into campy pop-psychedelia, accompanied by the iconic gritty lead vocals we have come to love Pond for. This album is full of stellar tracks, like America’s Cup which provides us the 80’s synth boogie we crave, closely followed in rating by Pink Lunettes, a faster-paced track with an underlying metronomic beat that leaves you no choice but to dance. The absolute highlight of the album, however, is the closing track Toast. A slower-paced track drenched in nostalgia - when I mentioned this album was a holiday, this track is background music to the final night of that holiday. One can only think about standing on the beaches of the West Coast watching the sunset, reflecting sentimentally back on the journey you have had, which makes this song the perfect close to a perfect journey.
Although 9 is a little more chaotic (in all the right ways) than Pond’s previous albums, there is a very good reason for that. The band took a unique approach when creating this album. Instead of sitting down and writing song after song, the group just jammed. They sat down, bounced off of each other’s vibes and pieced together different morsels of music to create a whole meal out of each track. After asking Nick Allbrook (vocals/guitar) about this process he said:
“The process was beneficial! It was fun. Doing something new was really stimulating. It’s easy to get mired in habit after all this time. We are very habitual animals, and carving out new paths in the process and in the brain is really good for remembering to be alive and, well, awake. I found the process really joyful and collaborative.”
Sonically 9 is very different, yet has the same classic Pond sound as their last release Tasmania. Over the course of eight previous albums and working with other groups, such as Kevin Parker of Tame Impala, it is interesting to see how the group have created their own signature in a world that is inundated with psych-rock releases. I asked Nick how the group has grown since their last release in 2019:
“I think we felt quite secure, and that’s what allowed us to try something different. we didn’t feel any pressure so we just threw everything at the wall and enjoyed watching it splat. I think Gum (Jay Watson) and Gin (James Ireland) have gotten REALLY good at mixing too, which was why we could do it all ourselves this time.”
The group started out just wanting to play in a few pubs around their hometown of Perth, now they have fans dancing to their music all across the world. Nick said “Any international response still blows my mind. It’s still rocking my world.” and it is safe to say that Pond are still rocking ours.