Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Pond - Electric Ballroom, London 25/02/15

02 March 2015, 10:30 | Written by Luke Cartledge

In a musical climate in which a decent, riff-heavy rock band has become a rare commodity, Pond are a breath of fresh air. The Australians’ sound is built around Led Zeppelin-esque grooves, enormous guitar riffs and seventies-scale song structures. They are hardly the trendiest of bands, but they can boast a certain kind of timeless cool; the varied, capacity crowd inside Camden’s Electric Ballroom tonight is testament to their universal appeal.

After an excellent set from support band Younghusband, Pond bounce onto the stage in a frenzy, launching through the first three of four songs without seeming to pause for breath. “You Broke My Cool”, from 2012’s Beard, Wives, Denim, is an early highlight, with frontman Nick Allbrook’s impassioned vocal distinctly recalling David Bowie. Indeed, it tends to be the earlier material that hits hardest this evening; perhaps this is due to the crowd’s unfamiliarity with new album Man It Feels Like Space Again, but the songs Pond play from Beard… and 2013’s Hobo Rocket are definitely the best received.

Pond cannot really be reviewed as a live act without some specific mention of their drummer. Jay Watson, one of the members Pond share with fellow Aussie psych extraordinaires Tame Impala, is a real Bonham of a drummer. He is rarely flashy or crass, as a musician of his level of proficiency may be tempted to be; instead, he uses his considerable skill to tie the band’s nebulous melodic wanderings to rock-solid rhythm, complementing rather than competing with his fellow instrumentalists. Between them, it’s Watson and Allbrook who really hold the key to Pond’s appeal. While Watson anchors the music, Allbrook sails high above it, his diminutive frame wrought with charisma. His between-song musings are pretty special, too, covering everything from the size of this venue to soiling oneself while in the throes of the creative process.

The goofy, spaced-out rock songs that Pond play tonight are excellent – there are few bands in the world who are better at this kind of music. Not quite so strong are the ballads, including a particularly flat number in which guitarist Joe Ryan takes the lead vocal. This band do fun fantastically well – they’re not quite so good at sensitivity. Happily, however, these relatively shallow troughs are more than made up for by the loftiness of the set’s infectiously funky highs. If they are to continue to grow, they perhaps could do with redressing that balance, and maybe learn to write proper songs rather than simply trying to be the world’s best jam band – but then they probably are the world’s best jam band, so perhaps we should just let them get on with it.

Share article

Get the Best Fit take on the week in music direct to your inbox every Friday

Read next