Matt Pond PA has always existed on the periphery of popularity. With nine releases over the past eight years, the Brooklyn-based chamber-pop outfit has not wanted for material. But there has always been an introverted quality to its music -- a sense that the ensemble is playing through a thick velvet curtain of insecurity and diffidence. Songwriter and leading man Matt Pond writes insightful, honest lyrics about love, human and Mother Nature, plays a million instruments and sings in a plaintive tenor reminiscent of Robert Smith's. Meanwhile, his bandmates -- now narrowed down to guitarist Brian Pearl, bassist Steve Jewett, drummer Dan Crowell and cellist Dana Feder -- create a lush, poppy backdrop that keeps Pond's emotive songs from ever seeming maudlin or self-indulgent. Perhaps because of recent exposure via The O.C. , the quintet seems to have a newfound confidence and swagger on its latest outing, finally putting to disc the same entertaining, affable nature for which Pond has always been known in his live performances.
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