Review : Bardo Pond - Bardo Pond
PopmattersAfter 20 years of slow droney psychedelics, Bardo Pond has chosen to name its new album simply, after itself: Bardo Pond. And if that name means anything to you, then you know what to expect. Perhaps the band self-titled the album in order to recognize that, at this point, it is an institution, a sound, a known quantity. Though this is the first release on Fire Records, that’s really the only thing new about this album, which finds the band spacing out in its normal manner.
Bardo Pond is known for its drug referencing titles. But the band has done so much for simulating the trip experience perhaps “Bardo Pond” has become a drug reference in its own right. The approach on this album is the same as usual: the Gibbons brothers find a good dual guitar riff—one playing a lead, one texturing underneath—and repeat for at least five minutes over Jason Kourkounis’s shuffling and heavy drums, Clint Takeda’s rumbling bass, and Isobel Sollenberger’s moaning vocals (or sometimes silly flute).
It’s not a bad album, but it’s also not the band’s best. The energy of earlier efforts, like the stellar Amanita seems absent. However, Bardo Pond always has a strange energy. What they do so well is make psychedelic drone catchy: the riff that repeats and bowls you over into a contagiously hazy state. If anything, the songs on the new album have less catchy riffs, and thus have a harder time snagging you for the drone. This could be due to the fact that only one of these songs is less than seven minutes.
Bardo Pond typically plays long songs, but the trend seems to be going in the direction of longer and freer jam sessions, like the multivolume self-released CDRs the band has put out over the last few years. The centerpiece of this album, then, is a twenty-one minute long song, “Undone”, and let’s just say that center cannot hold. This song just doesn’t quite cut it. The main issue is that way up front in the mix is a repetitive high-pitched guitar playing notes backwards that doesn’t really do anything interesting except perhaps that it starts to sound like a dying elephant....full text
RocksoundIt’s hard to fathom how Bardo Pond have made their life-in-a-lava-lamp jams for the best part of 20 years with – we’re assuming – their marbles still intact, but here they are, bubbling away with no sign of letting the quality dip. Things are arguably a touch clearer this time round, but that could just be the fact that we’ve been drip-fed their dense, tie-dyed weirdness for so long; the woozy stumbles, occasional leaden crunches and mumblefuck vocals managing to occupy a state that’s confusingly familiar as it oozes into that mysterious part of your brain which governs colour, shape and sound....full text
ClashmusicPhiladelphia’s psychedelic travellers Bardo Pond return with their self-titled eighth album. However, don’t let the fairly uninventive title fool you, this latest effort is just as inspired and bonged-out as ever. ‘Just Once’ enters in an unassuming, almost halfheartedly sung fashion - some might chuck this under the ‘slacker’ banner - but soon erupts into reams of trademark, searing noise. The album consists of seven pieces ranging from four minutes to twenty-one, spanning all manner of sounds and textures, from ethereal electronics and blissful acoustic twangs to burning, bass-heavy clouds of distortion. In no way throwaway, this is a trip....full text
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