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Bardo Pond | On The Ellipse (ATP)
More famous for the bands whom they've inspired than for their own music, Philadelphia's Bardo Pond are originators of the ethereal post-rock sound. Now signed to the people behind the groundbreaking All Tomorrows Parties' festival, they return to action with a sprawling six-track album that pinpoints precisely why Mogwai worship them so much. Similar to Slint forging an unholy alliance with My Bloody Valentine, Bardo Pond exist behind a congested wall of sound where instruments fight for air before eventually swelling into one continuous swirl. 'On The Ellipse' is their finest creation so far.
In theory, they've always been a band to savour, yet they've constantly had an outer-shell which has been tough to fully prise open. Here, Bardo Pond's heart is much more welcoming, calmer, easier to grow to love. Opener 'JD' packs narcotic drones onto a rumbling rhythm section and distant aching vocals; 'Every Man' is lifted by tender sighs and trumpets, while the tripped-out haze of 'Walking Clouds' is simply spectacular. Nowhere is feedback more melancholic, more emotive, than that fashioned by Bardo Pond. And their misty depths have never been more tempting than here and now.

Ian Fletcher
CWAS #12 - Summer 2003