The sheer amount of stuff happening on Pond’s eighth album would be enough to fling a lesser band into unmanageable chaos. But more is more for the Western Australian psychedelic experimentalists, and on Tasmania that chaos is harnessed and transformed into something wild, digestible, and brilliant.
As with their other records, Tasmania was co-produced by longtime friend and former bandmate Kevin Parker (of Tame Impala). The extended musical family brings together a staggering array of ideas, instrumentation, and sounds with remarkable fluidity.
Thematically, the album's poignant environmentalism follows on from 2017’s The Weather. On both eight-minute epic “Burnt Out Star” and the title track, singer Nick Allbrook repeats the sentiment “I might go and shack up in Tasmania before the ozone goes/While paradise burns in Australia.” He takes aim at those who considered The Weather to be a statement rather than the simple truth on “Hand Mouth Dancer”: “So you got political, can you speak on that?/I didn’t get political, I just faced the facts.”
Of course, there's much more to Tasmania than that. “Selené” is a story about a “young love…who took a little too much speed and fucked his guts up and his teeth,” while “Shame,” perhaps the band's most un-Pond-like track ever, is subtle, glassy, and sparse. “The Boys Are Killing Me,” one of their best songs to date, is a groovy psych-pop epic about Australia's destructive culture of toxic masculinity that was co-written by Indigenous activists John Watson and Annie Milgin. Over a decade into their career, Tasmania finds Pond at once more adventurous and more refined than ever.