Bardo Pond – Volume 8

Bardo Pond – Volume 8

Now effectively grand elders of the active psych-rock world, with a quarter of a century or so on the clock, Philadelphia’s Bardo Pond have little left to prove with Volume 8. At this stage you will automatically know whether you need another of the band’s records in your collection or not.  Yet, there’s no laurel-resting here.  Featuring studio material recorded between 2007 and 2017, Volume 8 may essentially be another unaired outtakes round-up – that follows in the chronology of the group’s previously self-released oddments collections – but it stands-up well alongside many of their strongest ‘official’ albums.

Composed of five pieces of short, medium and epic proportions, this is Bardo Pond carving-out imposing landscapes and subtle miniatures with a combination of jam-based sprawling and precision crafting, all shrewdly sequenced into a near-seamless whole.

Hence, the opening “Kalaish” demonstratively oozes and churns with a sluggish relentlessly that imagines a brutalised lysergic Crazy Horse, before things follow a looser more languid route on “Flayed Wish” through free-range drums and inside-out guitars, which build-up to a weighty shadowy denouement.  Sat in the middle of the long-player comes the all-too-brief pastoral “Power Children” with synths, organs and acoustic guitars melding into a gorgeous Popol Vuh-indebted detour and the even more condensed “Cud” unpeeling a stripped-back electric six-string meditation. Proceedings close with the expansive nearly 17-minute “And I Will”.  Unapologetically latter-day Bardo Pond on auto-pilot straight to the heart of the sun, this extended-finale finds Isobel Sollenberger’s sultry narcolepsy-meets-narcosis tones enveloped by thick roiling reams of guitars, bass, drums and organ that join the dots between Pink Floyd’s A Saucerful Of Secrets and Black Sabbath’s Masters Of Reality.

Whilst Volume 8 isn’t necessarily for Bardo Pond neophytes, long-term loyalists should happily squeeze it into their swollen shelves.

Fire Records