Bardo Pond | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Bardo Pond 

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In the last couple years, the sounds of space have been reclaimed from the crystal merchants by a legion of rock bands equally inspired by 60s psychedelia and 70s Krautrock. Bardo Pond's first two albums, with their unabashedly druggy titles (Amanita is a psychoactive mushroom and Bufo Alvarius is a toad that secretes a hallucinogen) and vertiginous music, launched the Philadelphia-based quintet into a choice position in this orbit. But its new record, Lapsed (Matador), is a blazing return to earth. The group still works up open-ended, exploratory jams whose contours gradually coalesce out of a haze of thick, distorted tones generated by bassist Clint Takeda and brother guitarists John and Michael Gibbons. And flutist-singer Isobel Sollenberger, whose moans and whispers become less comprehensible with each recording, still blows the final puff of smoke into the mix. But now these ethereal elements are tethered by riffs that recall the sludgy downer rock of early Dinosaur Jr and "Iron Man"-era Black Sabbath; and where drummer Joe Culver used to sound like he was lost in the morass, his pummeling, cymbal-heavy attack now pushes the rest of the band through it. Reports from recent east-coast concerts indicate that Bardo Pond's shows are even heavier and wilder than the record. Thursday, November 13, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600. Bill Meyer

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Taylor Crothers.


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