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Pond | Image: Michael Tartaglia

‘Haven’t Been Shy’: Pond Frontman Nick Allbrook Muses on New Album ‘Stung!’

You would think that, roughly one month out from the launch of Pond’s tenth album, Stung!, frontman Nick Allbrook would be nervous. You’d think so, but you’d be wrong. Perched in a dusty hotel room, taking a break from a pre-launch tour of the United States, Allbrook reveals that rather than feeling anxious about the launch of the band’s latest and longest album, he instead feels incredibly grateful for the reception the group had received in its latest shows.


“Talking to people outside of these American shows has really reminded me that people have an emotional connection to what we do, which is beyond my wildest dreams,” Allbrook told me ahead of the album’s June 21 launch. “It’s so fun and gratifying that when we release an album… people care, and people listen.”

Famously born under the pretence of Tame Impala’s touring band, Pond has survived the better part of two decades via a rotating cast of band members and ever-shifting influences, leading each album to feel slightly different but still undeniably Pond.

But this time, things are different.

Taking a Stand

Stung! is very much a Pond album, with the psychedelic chops to show for it, however it is also the cumulation of a years-long desire to release something looser and braver than what the band has tried before. As the frontman laughs, Pond has strayed close to “self-seriousness” a few times in its lifetime, but this album is the band’s chance to really try something different.

The band’s influences on Stung! range from Fleetwood Mac’s opus Tusk, Outkast’s dual release Love Below/Speakerboxxx, Exile on Main St by the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles’ White Album – a diverse set of sounds, with a unifying thread connecting them all together.

“I’ve always been totally enamoured by those albums. I think it’s because there’s a mythology behind them: there’s a vibe there of these albums being a last stand, with the bands rallying to create something really honest – it’s something I’ve wanted to do for ages,” he says.

Tusk and the White Album were recorded during the collapse of Fleetwood Mac and the Beatles’ respectively, while the Love Below/Speakerboxxx were an attempt to allow creative freedom to Outkast’s Andre 3000 and Big Boi. Exile on Main St’s inconsistent sound was created during a time when the Rolling Stones were tax exiles and was recorded in a mobile studio with guitarist Keith Richards addicted to heroin. These albums were all troubled, in one way or another, but came through with the goods.

Thankfully, these influences aren’t necessarily a sign of things to come for Pond. While the band is tapping into the mythology of these defiant releases, Allbrook doesn’t consider Pond to be pushing back against a tired formula or a crumbling foundation. Rather, Stung! is the band’s chance to drop the facade and let its sound grow naturally.

A Musical Evolution

Created first as a safe haven for band members to follow whatever musical impulse they deemed worthy, Pond is a band unlike many we’ve seen in Australia. Early influences, according to Allbrook, were as varied as Cream, The Flaming Lips, and The Mighty Boosh.

That quest for creativity (a line in the sand, Allbrook says) has survived to this day, and is what drives the band’s success. Album launch single, (I’m) Stung, opens with an almost classic-rock guitar harmony, signalling a slightly different tone this time around.

“I was really excited to play Stung. It’s got a very, finger-wagging, peacocking emotional energy to it, which I love performing,” Allbrook says. 

Another of the album’s drops, Black Lung, is filled with “heavy, dumb and satisfying” riffs that have been rocking US crowds for the past several weeks.

“It’s the kind of shit that I, and a lot of other people, get off on”, he says. “When we’ve pulled out the riffs, we haven’t been shy.”

At a point in the album’s life, however, Stung! was far more jazzy and orchestral, and Allbrook hinted at an “Aphex Twin and Skrillex-inspired” outro on the album, signalling the range of influences on display.

“This album is like a real pomp vomit of every impulse we’ve ever had.”

Stung! is Pond’s tenth album, and throughout the past 16 years, the band has become less anxious about releasing new work into the wild. Rather, Allbrook is anxious to share the band’s work and play the new and bombastic songs live.

“The album launch is probably more stressful for our management and label, for us it’s already done,” he says. “The big moment, and the realisation of all that work, is playing to people and having them hear it.”

Pond’s new album Stung! will officially drop on 21 June 2024 via Spinning Top Records and is available now for order. The Aussie band will return to Australia in the coming weeks for a national tour that will see the band hit the stage in Sydney, Hobart, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Fremantle.