By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
Back when he actually lived in Pennsylvania, Matt Pond stood out from the pack of Philly indie-rock acts by topping his brisk, pensive pop songs with wisps of lovely strings. Add to that his wintry rasp and bucolic imagery, and the early Matt Pond PA records are like crisp Polaroids of some idyllic snowy day in the country.
Once he moved to Brooklyn and found a steady lineup after years of cycling through backing players, Pond set about making sleek records that, while softer than the early ones, jumped out a bit more—violin and cello still in the mix. When 2004's Emblems hit, it promised big things for the band. Those things finally started happening on the back of the following year's Several Arrows Later.
To be fair, it wasn't just that album that launched the band to a level in which the guys could tour with Gomez and open for Yo La Tengo. It might have had a little something to do with them covering a couple of beloved songs for The O.C. by two bands that would never otherwise be mentioned in the same breath: Oasis and Neutral Milk Hotel. And yet Pond and company turned "Champagne Supernova" and "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" into sweeping, weepy ballads that fit perfectly with the sudsy beachside drama.
With a whole new audience in their pocket, Matt Pond PA toured and toured and toured. Several Arrows Later built slowly but surely, thanks to the contagious single "So Much Trouble"—go download the video—and other strong pop songs with cross-generational appeal. The next album's success has the potential to be much more immediate, if Matt Pond PA would actually step away from the tour van for a few hours and book some studio time.
According to their record label, the guys did just that before embarking on this latest stint in support of Straylight Run. Which means this show could be your chance to hear for the first time the songs off the album that will finally make Matt Pond PA a household name. After all his effort, isn't it about time?