CRITIC'S CHOICE

Pond, Friday, March 10, at CU-Boulder's Club 156, never did quite get the hang of the whole grunge thing. While other acts in and around the band's Portland home were peddling their acerbic walls of noise to the hungry MTV masses, these quirky Alaskan transplants spent their free hours tossing back Miller High Lifes, listening to Cheap Trick records and composing kooky, idiosyncratic stoner pop for their friends at the University of Oregon. During the same period, they also released a pair of exceptional long players on the Sub Pop imprint: 1993's Pond and this year's The Practice of Joy Before Death. Brimming with pseudopsychedelic textures and loose, hummable choruses, both records miss the Seattle boat entirely--there's nary a Sabbath riff in the bunch. But that shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, since everyone's figured out by now that grunge was a fad. Pond just knew it long before anyone else.

 
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