Bardo Pond is a psychedelic rock band first formed in Philadelphia in 1991. Their style spans different psychedelic categories like space rock, acid rock, shoegazing, and noise rock, and, according to the group’s Wikipedia page, their sound has been compared to Pink Floyd, Spacemen 3, and My Bloody Valentine. This album, Shone Like a Ton (1992/2014), was an early cassette-only album that the band would sell at merch tables and to book demos. I’m pretty excited to give this album a listen, so with that said, I’m going to jump on into the music.
“The Land of Only” gets started with what can be considered raw, psychedelic chaos that seems to share qualities of psychedelic rock from the west coast circa 1967, as well as shoegazing from the late 1980s and early 1990s as the fuzzed guitar seems to drone into the soundscape. I can totally hear how the band’s sound has been likened to Spacemen 3 and My Bloody Valentine. Great track, and I’m excited to hear more.
“Tarahumara” fades in with sweet, fuzzed shoegazing guitar and some bright cymbals. I really dig the sweetness of the clean, melodic guitar that seems to drip into the soundscape in a psychedelic fashion reminiscent of groups like Spacemen 3 or The Darkside. Holy smokes, the melodic guitar picks up in intensity with some distortion for a moment. I’m really digging this track and the overall sound of the band so far, and I’m already looking forward to checking out more of their discography. The raw, psychedelic, shoegazing sound of the track has such an authentic feel. Great track.
“Luna Sway” starts out with some heavily distorted, crunchy bass guitar, backed by a dynamic beat, and accompanied by a super groovy acid rock guitar that drips flavor with the combination of distortion and the wah pedal. Oh wow, the bass line seems to begin steering the track in a different direction after a bit. Oh wow, I really dig the distorted accentuations from the rhythm guitar from the opposite side of the soundscape from the lead guitar. Oh wow, this track is super groovy. The sort of melodious chaotic psychedelic style reminds me a fair deal of Spacemen 3, and even of The Brian Jonestown Massacre a bit. Oh wow, the rhythm guitar picks up a super crunchy distortion and more of a shoegazing style than earlier in the track. Oh wow, the first vocals from the song have entered the soundscape with a sort of relaxed, reassured feel that reminds me a bit of Dean Wareham from Galaxie 500 and Luna, and the instrumentation reminds me a bit as well of Galaxie 500 at the moment. Holy smokes, the bass line changes up and almost seems to be echoing the vocals to some degree. Holy smokes, this track keeps on giving with these shoegaze-y, melty, chaotic, nearly experimental, psychedelic jams. Holy smokes, it sounds like a synth comes in for some spacey notes just as the band begins winding down the song. Wow, awesome track.
“Painted Sun” gets started with some super heavy guitar work that almost has a bit of an industrial feel. Oh wow, the guitar work seems to gradually become more psychedelic as the track touches on melodious parts at a few moments that nearly seem to tease at relief from the heavy psychedelic chaos of the soundscape. Oh wow, the track almost has a bit of a dark shoegazing feel at times with the continuous heavy fuzz that fills the soundscape. The driving percussion combined with the fuzzed guitars sort of makes me think of a sort of experimental stoner rock to some degree. Super sweet track.
“Fox” gets started with some fuzzed, dark, melodious psychedelic lines from different guitars that are set to a sort of chugging beat from the drums. I really dig the way the bass guitar seems to underline the main electric guitar line. The dark, fuzzed nature of the track almost reminds me a bit of the earlier years of Black Sabbath. Oh wow, some vocals come in with an almost conversational tone, seemingly narrating something that reminds me a bit of Eric Burdon & The Animals’ Winds of Change (1967). Holy smokes, some really discordant guitar lines enter the track, adding even more of an experimental feel to the soundscape in the process. Holy smokes, the main guitar line picks up a wah pedal effect at some point in the latter half of the tune, and I’m really digging the sound. Holy smokes, I really dig the little fuzzed bass lick at the end of the track. Great tune.
“Crash Gamera” gets grooving almost right where the previous tune left off with a sort of dark, experimental psychedelia that I’m really digging. Holy smokes, there are some sound effects of some sort from what I think is a guitar that sounds like a baby or a young child crying in the distance, seemingly getting drowned out by the heavy chaos of the soundscape. Holy smokes, I really dig the guitar work in this track. One of the guitars has an almost tin-y sound that seems to make the soundscape increasingly psychedelic, while the other guitar has a heavy fuzz sound that keeps the tune moving along in a manner that sounds like hard rock guitar from the earlier 1970s meets shoegazing of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Holy smokes, I really dig the mellow, melting feel of the outro to this track. Great tune, and a super sweet way to finish the album.
Holy smokes, I’m glad that I checked out this album tonight. The chaotic, and at times experimental, psychedelic nature of the album reminded me a lot Spacemen 3. The flavors throughout a lot of the album also harkened back to acid rock and psychedelic rock from the latter 1960s, as well as some hard rock from the earlier 1970s mixed with a shoegazing feel reminiscent of groups like My Bloody Valentine and even a bit of Galaxie 500 at times. If you’re into experimental, chaotic, extended psychedelic music and/or a heavier shoegazing sound, then you might want to consider checking out this album. If you do decide to give this album a listen, then I sincerely do hope that you enjoy the listening experience at least as much as I did.