Monday, 16 December 2013

Bardo Pond - Peace on Venus (album review)

Before early last year (2012) I wasn't listening to anything that had come out after about 1975, well almost.  During my psychedelic daze I discovered the next generation of acid tripping fuzz rockers who made their homes in garages across the western world and beyond.  And because all things are possible and all reality an illusion in the softly echoing brains of the psychedelically-inclined, the statement that I wasn't listening to anything "new" may have been untrue in a chronological sense, but was entirely true in a more "real" sense.  Neo-psych ain't nothing new, and yet there's very little outside the metal and heavy rock n roll underground that excites me.

After hearing about The Warlocks releasing a new album I wanted to catch up with all my old favorite neo-psych bands.  How were they?  What were they up to?  And did they have anything new on the go?  My favorite of all time is The Blacklight Chameleons who are long since moldering in the dirt, but there were others:  Ozric Tentacles (on hiatus), Bevis Frond, Purple Overdose (done) and Bardo Pond at or near the top of the list.  It turned out the Bardo Pond are very much alive and well.

It's not really until you hear an album like 'Peace on Venus' that you understand how the very term "psychedelic" is much-abused in music.  There are very few bands out there whose music can be appropriately labelled as "psychedelic", not as a style or genre, but in terms of the effect it has on the listener.  On hearing this album, time collapses like spires built of dry sand and all things possible converge at the point at which truth begins to break down dynamically.  There's so much flute and echoey reverb on this album that the music itself starts to become like a psychedelic drug.  I won't bullshit you with a cliche about how addictive the album is because, much like a psychedelic drug, it isn't.  The hard and heavy stuff is addictive.  Like a psychedelic drug, 'Peace on Venus' is not only not addictive, it can only be pulled out, dusted off and enjoyed at just the right moment.  You have to be in the right frame of mind, in a comfortable place both internally and externally, press play and watch reality swim down around you for the next 39 minutes.

'Peace on Venus' is a softly echoing album that rises and falls from conscious thought while playing.  Excellent riffs worthy of any stoner or doom band but played less heavy in tone and feel capture the ear, the haunting vocals of Isobel Sollenberger envelop and enrapture the listener and the mind shifts into the essential unanswerable.  "Why am I alive right now, at this time in history and not in some other time?  Why hasn't the time of my existence passed yet and when it does what will happen to my consciousness?"  These are questions worth thinking about from time to time and Bardo Pond help facilitate this.  Not that they are an intellectual band full of pretense and in-your-face philosomophizing!  The key point here is that they are all about feel and that feel is fluid and at times ethereal with the texture and density of conjured ectoplasm.

Highlights include: "Kali Yuga Blues" and "Before The Moon"

Rating: 4/5

1). Kali Yuga Blues (7:35)
2). Taste (4:52)
3). Fir (5:07)
4). Chance (10:37)
5). Before The Moon (10:45)
Total Run Time: 38:55

From: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Genre: Psychedelic

Release Date: October 28, 2013

Bardo Pond on facebook


You can also find 'Heady Mental' on itunes.

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