Matt Pond PA

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Top SongsAlbum
More No MoreThe State of Gold3:52
The HollowsMeasure + I Thought You Were Sleeping3:24
Human BeingsSpring Fools4:03
Last Breath (feat. Laura Burhenn)Still Summer3:32
Our Braided LivesAuri Sacra Fames4:16
Closest (Look Out)Four Songs4:49
History of CanadaThe State of Gold3:30
Sunset at the Gas PumpWinter Lives1:44
FairleeThe Nature Of Maps3:16
StraffordThe Lives Inside The Lines In Your Hand2:47
Matt Pond PA’s fifth album, Emblems, marks the point where the “PA” became more of a nostalgic suffix than a geographic signifier – it was Pond’s first release following his move from Philadelphia to Brooklyn. It’s always been tough to tell whether Matt Pond PA was a proper band or not. Over the years, it’s tended to be singer/songwriter Pond and whoever else he gathers around him, but he often makes the other players part of a real collaborative process, so it’s significant that the PA-to-NY move found him revamping his group with a new lineup.

Not coincidentally, Emblems also marks a stylistic shift for Pond and his pals; while the earlier albums were full of artfully arranged chamber-pop, replete with strings, there’s a move towards more straight-ahead, guitar-oriented indie rock here. On one hand, it’s hard not to miss the baroque pop leanings of MPPA albums like Measure and The Nature of Maps, but it would seem unfair to deny Pond the opportunity for artistic evolution. Besides, how boring would it be if a band just kept on doing the same thing year after year?

That’s not to say that the chamber pop touches of the past are completely excised on Emblems – strings do pop up on cuts like “The Butcher,” and the gentle, mid-tempo “New Hampshire” almost feels like it could be an outtake from Elliott Smith’s Figure 8. But for all of Pond’s skillful blending of acoustic and electric textures throughout the album, opening cut “KC” has more in common with Death Cab for Cutie than it does with some Zombies-loving band of Elephant 6 refugees, and tracks like “Claire” and “Closest (Look Out)” are positively driving. Ultimately, Emblems marks a step forward for Pond, but without any burning bridges in the background.
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