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LIVE: Pond - Gorilla, Manchester

It’s been a few years now since Perth psych-rock enthusiasts Pond burst into our ears with an arsenal of woozy verse, roaring-riff-type stompers that couldn’t help but enthral.

Singles like ‘Giant Tortoise’ and ‘Xanman’ married a wacky sensibility with huge arching guitar parts, part of a DIY garage-rock scene that seemed to explode following the mainstream success of Tame Impala’s second LP Lonerism.

And that’s certainly not where the kinship with Kevin Parker ends. Pretty much every member of Tame Impala has been in Pond and vise versa – with frontman Nick Allbrook having been a focal point during the aforementioned Lonersim and InnerSpeaker.

Fast forward to today, though, and Pond’s latest LP The Weather features Parker on production duties, very much taking the same voyage into blissed-out synth-pop that was heard on the Brit Award winning Currents.

Pond must make the soaring choruses work in far smaller venues than their brothers in arms, but despite the newfound softer exterior they are still a searingly impressive unit.

In fact “searing” is the optimum word tonight at Gorilla as the always muggy venue finds itself in the midst of a near-30 degree heatwave. Allbrook attempts to ease the condition throughout the evening in his trademark exuberant manner, throwing bottles water over the audience.

A pre-soundtrack featuring Beyonce is perhaps a marker of a poppier prospect this time around, but vocal gymnastics soon descend into a dystopian prog future, proving that Pond have more added to the strings of their bow, rather than veer off in a completely different direction. An unexpected highlight of the evening has to be when Allbrook glides into a squealing guitar version of Air’s classic ‘Alpha Beta Gaga’.

The new tunes stand up against the classics very well in the end too, with ‘Paint Me Silver’ sounding like a genuinely immediate crowd pleaser. ‘Man It Feels Like Space Again’ is another slice of hazy pop craft that drifts around the venue, as overpriced cans of Red Stripe drip with condensation during the seconds it takes them to get warm.

Allbrook commands a kind of star quality that always requires an encore, and after the band leave the stage there isn’t a body in sight making it for the ventilation of the exit. Pond don’t hang around before returning for an encore that takes off into the pollen filled sky, with a rendition of Hall and Oates’ 80s floor-filler ‘Out of Touch’.

It’s the final act of a set that has been full of variety, depicting a band who have not found their groove, but realised they can hit a different groove every single day and still make it sound huge. The transition to pop stardom has been seamless.

Patrick Davies