Bardo Pond is a band which offers relaxation through noise, firmly sticking the listener into a sludge filled pond, with flutes playing above ground, and soft distant lyrics coming from below. It’s a comfortable place to be, and this time it’s all played out under the pines. Such a wonderful sludge to be in.
Under The Pines is Bardo Pond doing what they know best, stretching their sludgy guitars and the soothing voice of Isobel Sollenberger into dreamy ‘drone not drones’, with the occasional sprinkling of flutes to top it all off. There is a folk twang underneath it all, which helps add an emotional core, giving weight and a sense of journey to the noise that entraps all who choose to listen. When she sings ‘I’m so happy I could cry’ in the title track, it aches.
The lyrical content might be sparse, but it keeps the drone from getting lost. They aren’t musical noodles but fully formed pieces, and longer tracks such as ‘Out of Reach’ have distinct and natural shifts as they progress from calming minimalism to thrash metal-esque drumming drowning in distortion. Distinct and natural for Bardo Pond, anyway.
Under the Pines sticks to a tried and tested formula carefully refined over the course of twenty years, but when there is no real equal, it continues to be a refreshing, cleansing experience. Perhaps it’s the flute that does it, or perhaps its Isobel’s spacious vocals, or maybe there is something in the pines? Who can say?