Pond share two members with Australian psych-masters Tame Impala but don’t for a second think this is some throw-away side-project there to keep the band amused in downtime. Far from it, Hobo Rocket is Pond’s fifth album and it’s a glorious rush of pop, noise psychedelia that out freaks anything Tame Impala have come up with. Opening song ‘Whatever Happened To The Million Head Collide’ sets the stall out for the album very quickly, no easing the listener in gently, it slides out of the starting block shimmering with a squelchy Flaming Lips psych-pop vibe, with a pure shot of Butthole Surfers noise running through its veins. This is modern psychedelic music at its best, breathing in fifty years of experimental sounds into their collective lungs and exhaling them all over 2013.
Pond, however, ignore the mistakes of the past and resist the temptation to become self-indulgent and drab, keeping their brand of psychedelia focused and direct. ‘Xanman’, for example, hits the freak out button hard but remains upbeat and melodic, despite the swirling cacophony of noise the envelopes the song. Next up, ‘O Dharma’ is a floating Spiritualized type ballad that twinkles like the Lips own ‘Waiting For Superman’ had it been penned in 1974 by Roger Waters. Then Pond lurch back into the evil lysergic doom of ‘Aloneaflameaflower’ that crackles with such a mischievous ‘I’m gonna fuck up your trip and freak you out’ grin, you can’t help but love it, before running away feeling a bit paranoid and scared.
This is a good time for psychedelic music. It’s good to see the freak flag still waving high.