Pond's first album (self titled on Sub Pop) was a slow grower for me, but after witnessing a killer live performance in 1993, I was nothing short of enamored with them and eventually their record, which at this stage in the game I regard as nothing less than astonishing, and one of the single best debuts of the '90s. Tight, kinetic guitar rock with a barbed wire exterior cloaking a sickeningly sweet harmonic core. That little summation hardly does Pond justice, but it's a start. IMO, their most crucial asset was Charlie Campbell, whose distinctive fretwork was about as fluid and agile as it came. However, since the Portland, OR trio wasn't quite sludgy enough for the grunge set, they only managed to cast their net so far.
In about two years time, they pitched a curve ball with the insular, idiosyncratic, and often alienating The Practice of Joy Before Death, a record that hardly played to any of their former strengths. Creatively, they redeemed themselves on their third and final go around, Rock Collection, which ironically was delivered courtesy of Sony Records, well after Pond's meager industry buzz had quelled. I regard R/C as a cornucopia of everything Pond had meddled with before, good and otherwise. Near-perfect dispatches "Flawed" and "Golden" are plenty spry and hooky, but it's only on comparative 'throwbacks,' like "Filterless" that they revisit their trademark rhythmic scheme, which colored so much of their intoxicating early endeavors. Several other selections, mostly residing on Collection's first half, are nearly as admirable, but a handful of half-baked song-things gum up the works throughout, leading me to believe this disk would have been stronger had it been whittled down to a more concise ten or eleven tracks. At any rate, you can judge for yourself, and I would further recommend that you treat yourself to Pond's first album if you haven't already. Oh yeah, don't forget their Moth single (featuring their best b-side), which I'm also hosting.
02. You're Not an Astronaut
04. One Day in the Future
06. You're Not a Seed
08. My Dog Is An Astronaut, Though
12. Rebury Me
14. untitled 1
15. untitled 2
3AM Eternal: Frank Black “Hang On To Your Ego” (1993) - Frank Black's first American solo single was a wonderful cover of an early version of a Pet Sounds number. Enjoy!
1 hour ago