Pond – The Weather (Blue & White Splatter)
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A reference to a once mundane subject that's come to be loaded with the realities of climate change, The Weather is the seventh studio LP from Australian psych-pop outfit Pond. The album was produced by Tame Impala's Kevin Parker, bandmate and former bandmate of Pond founders Jay Watson and Nick Allbrook, respectively. The title also refers to the sociopolitical climate leading up to its release in the spring of 2017. In fact, the band's otherwise often inscrutable lyrics openly address these topics, alongside an also somewhat transformed sound. Still trippy and shambolic, The Weather carries an epic, sometimes otherworldly luster, with a synth-poppy psychedelia that takes a half step out of deep fuzz toward ELO. All of the above is on display on the theatrical single "30000 Megatons," which contemplates the nuclear threat ("pointed at her and him and you and me and everyone we know"). It does so with dramatic synths and pleas for sanity amid references to Xanax, Tinder, and Australian morning-radio personalities before the vocals are drowned out by a cacophony of guitar, thudding drums, and spoken-word clips. (Of note, the single was released on the day of Donald Trump's inauguration.) The present and future are explored further on songs like "Colder Than Ice," a new wavy tune replete with saxophone, and the glitchy "Zen Automaton." Elsewhere, "A/B" is a chaotic rock-out that transforms into a piano meditation before the midway point. According to Allbrook, it contrasts overindulgence with the recollection of a girl he met at a train station. Written by Watson, the more playful "All I Want for Xmas (Is a Tascam 388)" wrangles stomping beats, meeping synths, and animal calls. While still typically madcap, The Weather may be the band's most coherent release to date, especially with a song like "Sweep Me Off My Feet," the record's AOR-friendly lead single. Taken as a whole, it works as both a flamboyant acknowledgment of and release from volatile times.