R.i.p. Society

ZOND - s/t LP

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Zond have obviously improved in leaps and bounds since their endless-riff jam-band days: there's 10 songs here, some as short as 2 1/2 minutes. They sound like songs, too: a beginning, something approaching a chorus and a verse, and an end. Recorded by Jack Farley and mastered by Casey Rice, the sound is still fairly lo-tech in the sense that the drums and bass are a little too low in the mix, though the guitars leap from the speaker to awesome effect. I could've done w/ a bit more low-end, but that's just me searching for a complaint. Fact is, this is a really great album, one of the best Australian releases I'll likely hear all year (I'd stick Fabulous Diamonds' latest in there, too), and it's pursuing a musical path which is little travelled locally, or at least rarely pursued with any great discipline and effect.
The High Rise comparisons don't make a whole lot of sense to me anymore - a good thing as I was never much of a fan anyway - though if I gotta do it - and I gotta! - I'd say that the sonics of Zond really bring to mind an amalgamation of Bad Moon Rising-period Sonic Youth and the brilliant, other-worldly plod and grind of Skullflower's best recordings of yore (that'd be their Ruins/Xaman/Last Shot At Heaven releases from 20-odd years back). The buried vocals are more in the Loveless-period My Bloody Valentine realm, meaning they're there for the effect rather than lyrical concerns, and for me that's just fine. Zond have cut out all the boring stuff this kind of music can sometimes entail and kept it tight and to the point. There's a real sense of tension/release with the songs, a manner of ebb and flow w/ each track arching back at key moments and delivering the needed punch w/ its small army of FX pedals at disposal. Occasionally the sound overload resembles a wind tunnel, but you can detect a tune underneath and nothing outstays its welcome