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It is easy to forget that during the UK winter months, on the other side of the globe, Australia is basking in the blistering heat of summer. Doing their best to bring the weather with them, psychedelic rock band Pond have delivered the first summer album of the year and it couldn't be at a more welcome time. Man It Feels Like Space Again is an album you could de-ice your car window screen with.
It seems there is a bit of a psych-rock revival going on in Australia. Most notably, Kevin Parker's Tame Impala have become a trippy, neo-psych marvel who warrant festival headline sets and assume the role as heirs to Wayne Coyne's multi-coloured throne. It's not just Tame Impala though, there is The Silents, Gum, Mink Mussel Creek, all of which have shared members with each other across the years. Clearly the sun, the sand, the surf and every frightening animal on the Earth is a combination which lends to people wanting to make music to take mind altering drugs to.
Looking at the kaleidoscopic album artwork, it's clear that you're in for quite a ride. The front cover of Man It Feels Like Space Again is adorned with rockets hurtling through the atmosphere, hippies chilling on the river bank with prehistoric animals, streams of brightly coloured toxic sludge, and a cosmic Elvis Presley. It's quite a feast for the eyes, and the music is just as deliriously madcap. Of course, there are elements of Man It Feels Like Space Again which hardly surprise, there are thick swathes of analogue synths, wiggly guitar textures, drugged-up '60s vocals, but, from each track to the next, the album is still able to confound and delight in equal measure.
'Outside Is The Right Side' flits between Pink Floyd psych whimsy, funkadelic grooves and modern dance music in a disorienting party romp. Pond also traverse through glam-rock stompers in lead-single 'Elvis' Flaming Star', acid-tinged FM pop with album opener 'Waiting Around for Grace' and '70s-Lennon inspired ballads such as on 'Medicine Hat'. But of course, Pond are at their very best when they throw everything at the canvas and writhe around in a glorious neon mess of their own creation such as on the 8-minute title-track that closes the album.
Man It Feels Like Space Again is an astonishing confident record. Even though the textural palettes are familiar, especially to those who have been lapping up the psychedelic soup of Tame Impala, Pond and their Perth based contemporaries, the songwriting craftsmanship and vibe of every track varies from the last. As the title suggests, this album feels like a journey into outer-space, a sci-fi record through and through where every track represents a different planet, each one richly distinct and wildly intoxicating. Planet Earth looks rather drab in comparison.
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