Pond’s Hobo Rocket is an exercise in organized chaos. When the band organizes its classic rock tendencies, hammering down power chords and feeding a hunger for severe fuzzy guitar freakouts, it makes for a perfect storm. The seventies merge with today, creating timeless songs that get inside your head.
“Xanman” sees Pond reaching that pinnacle, riffing hard and building a strong melody and chorus that’s clever and hooky. As the song develops, the Perth, Australia band stretches into a hushed bridge before bursting back into the familiar riff and a balls-out finale.
We hear the similarities between Pond and Tame Impala, who share a few band members, on the psychedelic rumblings of “Giant Tortoise” and “O Dharma,” a gentle trip into the spacey ether that Tame Impala perfected on their last album.
But that sense of calm evaporates as the album progresses, when the band leans toward the chaotic end of the spectrum. “Aloneaflameaflowe” erupts into a nonsensical burst of fuzz and drudgy guitars. Album closer “Midnight Mass (At the Market Street Payphone)” is hardest to follow. It follows no linear pattern, getting lost into a cacophonous sound for minutes at a time.
Parts of the album feel too sloppy, too wayward and too unfocused to really encourage repeated listens. When Pond tightens their sound, the cutting grooves are hard to ignore. It’s those times in between, the chaos, that allow room for growth.