What does the German visual artist Gerhard Richter have in common with aniseed liqueur, Coney Island and the Canadian newspaper, The star? Not much on paper, but references to this cluster of phenomena were scribbled in Pond frontman Nick Allbrook's notebook as the band worked on their new album. 9.
In the run-up to the band's ninth album, Allbrook had taken the habit of writing down everything that had piqued his interest in order to use it as a lyrical building block. However, no such reorganization took place for the set of signifiers mentioned above. All of these references – plus mentions of Manfred, magnetic tape and a “Czech smile from the last orchards” – appear in the album's lead single, “Pink Lunettes”.
Ponds two latest LPs, 2019 Tasmania and 2017 The weather, have been widely recognized as the Fremantle Psych band's strongest studio production to date. But on album nine, Allbrook and his bandmates – Jay Watson, Joe Ryan, Jamie Terry and James Ireland – were eager to broaden their horizons.
"I think we started repeating ourselves more and more and we were probably in danger of getting really bad," says Allbrook.
9 is Pond's meatiest, most obviously dance-oriented album to date. The band's penchant for psychedelic pop signaling apocalypse is still in place, but the hard hit and lyrical absurdity of "Pink Lunettes" represents the kind of "abstract disorder" the band sought to explore 9.
Watch the Pond Official Music Video for Human Touch
Now that the new album has been released, Tone Deaf spoke to Allbrook about gentrification, 9stylistic direction and what it feels like to be in Pond after more than a decade.
Tone Deaf: You have & # 39; America & # 39; s Cup & # 39; Written over a pre-gentrified Fremantle. But it is not a dirty word, even if it conjures up a period of greater freedom and eccentricity and heroin use. Who sings the song – not literally, but whose voice is it in?
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Nick Allbrook: If you listen to the lyrics, I don't think any judgment will be made before or after gentrification. It's just like that. "Before the America’s Cup, it was sailors and junkies, pescatores and bikes." I think it's from my perspective.
I remember seeing a couple of things that said like "America's Cup is an anti-gentrification bang" or something like that. It's like, not really.
TD: I think people are used to hearing negative judgment when talking about gentrification.
N / A: You're right. It's a very sensitive subject. But as a middle-class white man, especially from Australia – a very up-and-coming place – it would probably be a bit on the nose to be vehemently against gentrification, right?
As a person who lives on the money they make whipping damn vinyl to people, who would I be to write an anti-gentrification song? You know, the difference between a gentrified Williamsburg and a non-trified Williamsburg is that Pond records are put in place.
TD: "Pink Lunettes" is one of the greatest Pond singles of all time. It has that energetic looseness that I've experienced in your live shows, but rarely on record. Was that song some kind of blueprint for the ghost you wanted to conjure up on 9?
N / A: With every album we have some kind of crazy concept of what it will be that is really different from the last one. For example “this one will be full of techno” or “this one will be like J Dilla; we're going to be using samples and a '90s drum machine. ”And usually there is one song that is really on the money.
I think & # 39; Pink Lunettes & # 39 ;, it's the kind of Suicide, Liquid Liquid that we thought about at the beginning.
TD: Lyrically, “Pink Lunettes” is basically a long stream of signifiers: chilled anisette, Richter’s Atlas, Coney Island, a Czech smile, magnetic tape. It seems as if the texts are being allowed to take shape without trying to impose a linear cohesion on them.
N / A: Yes, no, they have definitely taken shape. I had a small section of the notebook that had a bunch of random things in it that I thought might sound good or be built on. But I didn't build on it; they all just kind of curdled in the song.
Much of it is just really nice sentences from Leonard Cohen's book, The favorite game. Like “a taste of chilled anisette”, “a Czech smile softened the mother's face when she was greeted by the star. “I thought that was damn great.
TD: Despite all the experiments, the record still sounds a lot like Pond. Your voice is an important factor in this continuity, but experimentation is also part of the band's DNA. Are you careful about repeating yourself?
N / A: Yes of course. To write a pseudo-bizarre, pseudo-psychedelic climate change O ballad with some nicely arranged major seventh chords and a bit of fat Juno 6 and a really gnarled riff at the end; produced by Kevin Parker, recorded in Fremantle, Western Australia; ten songs, bam, throw it out: 7.2.
I think that's why we thought, "At least we have to try to do something different." And we tried to do something completely different, which is evidence of how far we are able to stay the same because it turns out to be pretty good in the end, as it turns out.
TD: What does Pond mean to you today compared to ten or eleven years ago? It's a fun band, sure, but as far as the pride you take in your work, have your feelings changed a lot in the nine albums?
N / A: Yes, definitely. I think a lot of it I can pretty much trace back to an ego thing. Because it was so silly and so throwaway and so fun in the beginning, really just sucking it up and doing the stupidest shit, to be recorded and released all over the world.
You know the first two songs out Psychedelic mango end up with those fucked bongo and delay pedal jams and we moan into a microphone. And sometimes I don't know whether it's due to a lack of ego or this massive insecurity – the fear of being taken seriously, because then you can go down.
And then I think we took each other really seriously for a while and we were really pretty worried about what people were thinking or what we were doing or how we were in the indie music world or whatever. I think we're starting to fuck less than our visually more punky teenagers (had).
TD: What about the importance of the work you are producing?
N / A: I care so much. I love making good records. I actually imagined this album to be a double album, a kind of Royal Trux / Ween with 35 songs that sweep and make every piece from the hairdressing salon with it Tusk on meth. But then, because it is important to us, it is polished up.