With a new album already recorded, Pond are doing a national run of shows in support of this year’s Hobo Rocket LP, hitting Metropolis Fremantle this Thursday, December 12, supported by Doctopus. LACHLAN KANONIUK reports.
With such a multi-faceted and involved schedule over the past few years, the fact that the still-nascent Pond outfit have managed to clock up five full-length releases with their current LP, Hobo Rocket, is more than a little impressive.
However, Nick Allbrook dismisses the notion of prolificacy as somewhat of a fallacy. “The first couple of albums were pretty… eccentric,” he euphemises. “A lot of veteran bands could just pop one out if they so desired. It’s just that we’re dumb. We decided that if we did something, it should be out anyway. I don’t feel like we’re that prolific, it’s just we have those stupid albums at the beginning.”
Hobo Rocket quickly followed up last year’s Beard, Wives, Denim – Pond’s first release on Modular – and the band are primed for another quickfire full-length release within the year. “We’ve recorded a whole bunch of stuff, we just need to figure out how and when and if we’ll put it out.”
Clocking in at a tidy seven tracks, Hobo Rocket was very much a clearly focussed musical statement. As Allbrook explains, it’s the result of a measured ethos.
“You’ve definitely gotta cut yourself off, because it’s never finished. Otherwise you keep doing shit forever, refining it. Then your tastes change and ‘refined’ isn’t refined enough, or ‘refined’ is too refined so you have to re-refine it. Then once you’ve re-refined it you can do it all again.
“So someone at some point needs to come in and say, ‘Shut up and pull your finger out, and put the record out’. I guess there are certain tiers of decision making; everybody’s got to call it a number of times before it’s actually called. I’m pretty good at it. Probably because I’m lazy, saying, ‘I can’t be fucked, let’s move on’. But there are also deadlines.”
One of the many excellent, intertwining projects to emerge from here on the West Coast in the past half-decade, Pond, of course, stem from the primordial ooze of Mink Mussel Creek.
“Mink Mussel Creek is like the original band, and we stopped doing it ages ago,” Allbrook says. “Well, we didn’t really stop doing it, I suppose – there’s no quitting, we just did the one album. We could always play shows again, but it’s not really going in the usual sense. Most of the guys are in Perth, Kevin (Parker) is on tour, and there’s no particular reason to rehash the old songs.”
Throughout the concise tracklisting present on Hobo Rocket, we’re taken through a disparate array of mind-bending psychedelia, including a star turn from a Perth street performer identity on the title track – “It’s a sort of accumulation of Cowboy John’s lyrical musings, and he just came in and cut loose on the microphone” – and some Eastern touches – “That’s Joe (Ryan), he loves his sitar. But he also buys Peruvian knitwear from Fremantle Market, so y’know… it’s all part of the same parcel.”
The recollection of the golden age of heavy and experimental rock is not necessarily a motivated move, Allbrook explains. “I didn’t think it sounded like a vintage thing. There was all this different stuff we were listening to. Joe was probably listening to bloody Paul McCartney & Wings or something. Gum (aka Jay Watson) was probably listening to ELO, then decided that ELO is too pussy, then listened to Chrome or something,” he laughs. “So it changes daily, with each person.”
As opposed to his former role in Tame Impala, Allbrook is very much the frontman of Pond. So what does he think makes a good frontman?
“You gotta be completely aware of your own stupidity for 40 minutes a day or something, that’s probably it. I got good at forgetting that I looked like a fool.”
As for his experience with Tame Impala, particularly during the runaway success of last year’s acclaimed Lonerism, Allbrook is philosophical.
“I got to do stuff that no one else gets to do. That’s pretty cool. I saw the world in a way that nobody else gets to see it. I saw it from a different angle, a very privileged angle,” he humbly states.
“You learn what you learn, these little things stick to you as you go along. I swear I saw a Japanese gameshow where they have to run as far as they can with all this shit sticking to them, gradually picking up more and more. Maybe it was a dream, I dunno. But either way, that’s what life is like: a Japanese game show that I invented.”
Pond will also appear at Southbound at Stewart Bovell Park, Busselton, on Friday-Saturday, January 3-4.
Pond Play Metropolis Fremantle this Thursday, December 12.
Get your tickets here.