A 'democratic mud pit', The Pond is Kathryn Williams - 'Without doubt one of the most authentic folk voices in the country' (Q) - and fellow musicians, Simon Edwards and Ginny Clee, who have created an album project that will take many by surprise.
For Kathryn - currently in the middle of a creative purple patch - it's a bold and exciting move, a psychotropic mix that augments vintage beats, 60's pop, tape loops, Eastern notes - even a rapper (Kirsch, on 'Bebop').
The mood of the album runs from sunny and laid back but some songs leave a surprising impression of darkness. There is nothing in Kathryn's catalogue to prepare one for the bleak, eerie strangeness of "End Of The Pier", the foreboding notes and lyric of "Memory Let Down" or the sparkling, mysterious possession of "The River" - or much else here.
Comparisons may be drawn with down-tempo artists like Lemon Jelly, Mint Royale and Bent, but The Pond's strong emphasis is on songs and voices - the interaction between Kathryn & Ginny creating some intoxicating harmonies.
The Pond's music developed - alongside friendships - over a two year period of on/ off recording at Simon & Ginny's home studio in North London and by exchanging files over email with Newcastle-based Kathryn. Pooling their talents into The Pond's eponymous debut, the album's 11 tunes are infused with the warmth and playfulness of its makers - with Adrian Utley's mix giving the bright, ultra-vivid melodies a positively Bristolian depth and sophistication.
A quick heads up on Kathryn's co-conspirators. Simon - a much in demand session player - cut his teeth in Fairground Attraction scoring a worldwide hit with Perfect in 1988, the song winning the Best Single award at the following year's BRITS (the parent album, The First of a Million Kisses also picking up the Best Album gong).
Ginny meanwhile started out in her pop life as one half of The Dear Janes, and has subsequently contributed vocals to records by everyone from Robert Plant to Robyn Hitchcock.
The Pond October 2012 UK tour dates:
(Dates and information subject to change.)
Tue 02 Oct Bristol Louisiana
Wed 03 Oct Manchester Ruby Lounge
Thu 04 Oct Gateshead Sage 2
Sun 07 Oct Leeds Cockpit 2
Mon 08 Oct London Bush Hall
Mon 15 Oct Chester Telford's Warehouse
Tues 16 Oct Birmingham Glee Club
Wed 17 Oct Nottingham Glee Club
Sun 21 Oct Cardiff Glee Club
Thu 01 Nov Basingstoke Haymarket
In addition Kathryn will play a couple of solo shows in September at the Queen Hall, Edinburgh with James Yorkston and at the Split Festival, Sunderland.
The Pond will shortly be running a competition to win an exclusive show IN YOUR OWN LIVING ROOM! Follow this link - eepurl.com/g2T_ - to subscribe to the mailing list for a chance to win and other goodies.
Kathryn Williams & The Pond (live in your living room preview) video:
For the latest tour dates, competition details and more, please go to:
The Pond Official Website