Western Australian psych-rock band Pond’s ninth album might have been their first in over a decade that was recorded entirely on home turf (for pandemic reasons), but thematically it darts all over the place. There are biographical moments, with reflections on traveling, meaningful encounters, and thought-provoking conversations. There are observations on modern life, ancient mythology, gentrification, and tourism. There are wild improvisations taken from frenzied jam sessions, collaborations with artists near and dear to the band, ideas drawn from other creative minds and works, with lyrics that bounce from profound to funny to delightfully absurd. All in all, 9 feels like a series of musical vignettes, often focused entirely on a single person, thought, memory, or moment. Below, frontman Nick Allbrook talks through each song on the record.
“Song for Agnes” “A tribute to Agnes Martin, with none of her zen delicacy—sorry. Took some lyrics from a letter she wrote to her art dealer which I thought was brilliant. [French artist] Maud Nadal did the ‘frail as people’ bit, which I love. A lot of this album’s lyrics are kind of biographical.”
“Human Touch” “One time a woman was smashing up a car outside my house, begging me to help her steal it. She was wired but kind of sweet in a scary way. Her dog, named Josie, was sitting in the passenger seat being very cute and fluffy. GUM [Jay Watson]’s loop started it all musically.”
“America’s Cup” “1987 was the year Fremantle was televised to the world and gentrification began in earnest. There are still relics of the pre-cup history floating around. It’s also about large, massive champions gathered outside a gym in London, who I thought were funny. The first line is lifted from [Icelandic artist] Ragnar Kjartansson, and the music came from a super fun jam. Hadn’t done that in ages and it was a gas.”
“Take Me Avalon I’m Young” “When I was 17—cue strings—I went to England for my traditional Australian ‘gap year,’ to try and become worldly and feel like you’re bigger and better than your home. I went to Glastonbury, met some hippies and got trippy and slept on Glastonbury Tor. Turns out there’s a lot of wild mythology about that place if you look it up. The song’s about age, decay, changing, and the golden dream of England. I wanted to make a song with the drumbeat like the one that comes in at the end of ‘3 Legs’ by Paul McCartney. [Pond drummer] Ginoli and me did that. [New York-based artist] Jesse Kotansky did some mind-buggering strings on this one, and a couple others on the album. Champion.”
“Pink Lunettes” “This came from another one of Jay’s crusty loops. Mainly him and Ginoli turned it wild and I just looked at my notebook and garbled over the top in a one-take vomit of pretentious art school tripe. It’s a chopped and screwed mosaic of once-coherent material from Leonard Cohen and Richter and Documenta X and some other things.”
“Czech Locomotive” “More biography. Emil Zátopek and his incredible story totally squashed me. I’ve been running a lot recently, and his enormous heart and romantic soul and talent and strength and will killed me dead. The music came from the aforementioned improv sesh.”
“Rambo” “An ode to the ‘unenlightened.’ I had a chat with a translator of very expensive poems who said you can’t make real art unless you’ve read Rimbaud, and I thought that was the most hilarious thing I’d ever heard in my life, and that person thought I was super cool for disagreeing. All very confusing really, but it made me not want to read another book ever again. ‘I should run and hide or die in the generational divide’ seems to be the mantra of the album, like ‘I might go and shack up in Tasmania’ was for [2019 album] Tasmania.”
“Gold Cup / Plastic Sole” “Basically this is about the most well-trodden subject of the year—shit getting fucked-er and fucked-erer. I’m aging, and truths like slave labor producing my favorite slippers are turning every once-frivolous pleasure sour. Seeking solace in nature, Deia, love. There’s a really fantastic chord progression written by [Pond guitarist] Shiny Joe, ameliorated by brilliant twisted piano by [Melbourne artist] Evelyn Ida Morris and Jesse Kotansky strings.”
“Toast” “Another ripper Joe chord progression. His demo was called ‘Toast’ and I think he was imagining warm, slightly burnt bread, but I wrote about the tourists in Broome watching the sunset and seeing the apocalypse and how I could never spend enough time with my love to make said apocalypse feel right.”


Other Versions

Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada