Big Laughing Jym 12″ EP/CD EP

Bardo Pond, though mired in commercial obscurity, is the hottest property in that microcosm known as the underground. With a few singles and an incredible full-length, Bufo Alvarius, to their credit, the Pond were snatched up by the savvy sharks at Matador. But before their unholy union with Atlantic gets underway, the band is releasing music at a flabbergasting pace. Already in the works is a split single with Bear for Che, a split-album with avant-rock conspirators Jessamine for Drunken Fish, and now this new release on Compulsiv, a label based in the Pond's hometown of Philadelphia. Though an unlikely place for the new sonic revolution to begin, Philly is becoming known for more than just cheesesteaks. Along with the like-minded Siltbreeze label, Bardo Pond is setting the stage for a fruitful scene.

Their sound is thankfully undescribable. While the phrases "wispy," "ethereal" and "esoteric" spring to mind, one cannot ignore the blistering layers of piercing-feedback bliss the band is capable of mustering. This ever-present squeal is overridden somewhat magically by the voice and flute playing of Isobel Sollenberger. Though her lyrics become undecipherable, they are also rendered unimportant, as the instrumental virtue of Isobel's vocals take center stage.

On Big Laughing Jym, screeching pieces like "Dispersion," "Dragonfly," and "Hummingbird Mountain II (A Return Trip)" take the listener on a whirlwind trip through the outer octaves of time and space, making this particular release just as essential as any record that bears the Bardo Pond insignia.

[Written by Jeremy Koren for MusicBox, original publication date unknown. Reprinted without permission.]

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