Sunday, March 19, 2017

Out Of Reach: A Quick Review Of The Fine New Bardo Pond Album

It's remarkable to think that Bardo Pond have been doing this sort of thing for so long. I guess what's striking still is that the band feels underrated and, if not overlooked, at least not noticed often enough. Their new one, Under The Pines, drops Friday on Fire Records, and it is, obviously, a trippy affair.

Opener "Crossover" gets things stirring thanks to Isobel Sollenberger's rich vocals and a churning guitar attack underneath that. The epic "Out Of Reach" places this group closer to some of the shoegaze acts that sprang up a few decades ago, even if the sound of Bardo Pond remains, as always, nearer the neo-psychedelic material whipped up so long ago by pioneers Dream Syndicate and Opal. Elsewhere, "My Eyes Out" comes in on waves of feedback, equal parts Sixties freak-out stuff, and Nineties Spiritualized riffs, while the long and languid "Moment To Moment" is perched somewhere close to what that early Mazzy Star stuff sounded like. Of course, the other players here, notably the Gibbons boys on guitars, manage to unleash alternately subtle and fiery hooks amid the squall. The superb title cut adds a near-folky hint of flavor, while closer "Effigy" sounds like Mogwai a tiny bit. And yet those mentions of other bands are only lazy reference points as, obviously, the sound of Bardo Pond remains a unique thing, even on the lengthy cuts where things remain adventurous and never routine.

Under The Pines is another excellent release from this band and one that manages to be expansive in scope and wholly intimate in the moments that make up its tracks. Bardo Pond have found a way to make music that references a few earlier eras but which consistently feels new and brave. The excursions here are ones worth taking and a listener, new or old, will be rewarded by the offerings of the players here.

Under The Pines is out on Friday via Fire Records. Follow Bardo Pond via the band's official website.

[Photo: Uncredited label photo]