February 15, 2022

Bardo Pond - Amanita (1996)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Shoegaze
Label Number: OLE 180-2

© 1996 Matador/Drunken Fish Records
Not changing all that much but whipping up just as compelling a mix of drone, volume, and blissout as before, on Amanita the now officially-a-quintet Pond cranked the amps, switched on the pedals, and let fly with 11 monster songs. After a four-minute series of guitar feedback and fuzz, "Limerick" fully kicks in the album with a slow, stoned groove that's as big as one could want it to be, with Sollenberger's echoed vocals emerging out of somewhere while the slow shuffled beat builds higher and higher. Effortlessly combining psychedelic inspirations from Pink Floyd's original explorations to the more modern reachings into the beyond by My Bloody Valentine and Main, it's a simply stunning way to begin an equally stunning album. Many of the songs take a generally quieter approach before fully turning on the riff action. Two good examples are "Tantric Porno," where things are more understatedly shuffled before pumping up the volume and riff-out in the midsection, and the similarly paced "Yellow Turban," with its slow, downward crawl and wonderful guitar from the Gibbons brothers, alternately watery, weird, loud, and crumbling. Another song of note in this vein is the floating "Rumination," sounding not dissimilar at points to the crystalline melancholy also explored by labelmate and future collaborator Roy Montgomery. Otherwise, it's tune-up and zone-out to the max. "The High Frequency," for instance, steps away from lyrical meaning by burying what sounds like a random selection of spoken word snippets deep in the mix, just letting that wash of sound do what it does. Final number "RM" lets Sollenberger more clearly contribute her flute to the proceedings, while in general, whipping a last conclusive blast of sound to close out an astonishing and inspiring album.

tags: bardo pond, amanita, 1996, flac,

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