Bardo Pond – Bardo Pond

January 01, 1970

(Fire Records UK)

Don’t let those sad, glistening pie eyes on the front cover fool you: Bardo
Pond, Philadelphia’s
long-running stalwart of post-punk psychedelia, has not gone twee. Or even emo,
for that matter.


Rather, it’s quite the contrary. For the sextet’s eighth
album and debut endeavor on England’s consistently cool Fire Records imprint,
Bardo commemorates its 20th anniversary as a band with its most sprawling,
cohesive and uncompromising work to date. For this eponymously
titled effort, the band takes the direction of their effects-rich,
Spacemen 3-nodding experimental drone to a whole new level of
conventionalism, while at the same time delivering some of the most
powerful material to date.


“Jesus is coming, but I’m willing to wait,” sighs
singer Isobel Sollenberger on “Don’t Know About You”, as though she
is staving off the bedding of a new mate. But in reality, she and her band are
part and parcel in bringing The Rapture across seven cuts that aren’t so much
apocalyptic in the slash and burn manner as they are in the sprawling, scorched
earth aftermath of the setting for Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Nothing
here is more indicative of this than the 21-minute melter “Undone”,
which builds a crescendo of feedback, reverb, delay and fuzz that just explodes
into an oceanic roar of melodic noise that overcomes the listener in the grand
tradition of vintage Sonic Youth. Elsewhere, the group toys with elements of
alt-country on opening track “Just Once” and Jesu-esque sludge-gaze
on “Cracker Wrist”.


Bardo Pond shows
these underrated icons of indie rock trying on new sounds for size and turning
out one of their best albums in doing so.


DOWNLOAD: “Just Once”, “Don’t Know About You”, “Undone”,
“Cracker Wrist” RON HART



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