The Lives Inside The Lines In Your Hands

Matt Pond

BMG Records, 2013

http://www.mattpondpa.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/05/2013

It really is a shame that Matt Pond isn't a household name. After his perfect 2005 disc Several Arrows Later, I really thought it was only a matter of time until the John Mayer and Bright Eyes crowd would find Pond's brand of jangly indie rock a bit more exciting and refreshing. He's one of those rare songwriters that few people would not be captivated by. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Since Several Arrows Later, he's been quite prolific, and all of his albums and EPs reside somewhere between fantastic and absolutely essential. On his first album without the 'PA' attached to his last name (rumor has it he's no longer a PA resident), Pond maintains his status as one of the most talented under the radar songwriters of this generation, and his indie pop prowess is as fluent as ever.

It’s almost tradition now that Pond should start off the disc with one of the best of the batch: “Let Me Live” moves at a quick pace and with plenty of sing-a-long “woh-oh”s. The tempo stays fast with the following track and first single “Love To Get Used.” This is textbook Pond – memorable guitar work, smooth vocals, and the hint of female backing vocals is just the right touch. Of course, there are several quieter songs included, and as always, it's hard to decide if they leave as strong of an impact as his glorious, bouncy moments. “Human Beings” is one of those luminous, less rock-oriented songs, which brings in a banjo, the first time I can recall that on a Pond disc. Elsewhere, there's an abundance of synth, especially on the heavily layered "Hole In My Heart,” an up-tempo pop song that shows a more polished Pond.

Formerly known for a heavy emphasis on chamber pop and orchestral nods, here he borders on more traditional pop territory. His strengths of heartfelt, breezy melodies and calm indie rock are still intact, it's just a bit less gritty than his prior work. Though he's always had a very accessible sound that was on the cusp of being able to fill stadiums, this album clearly moves him into potential mainstream success territory. Indeed, the FM dial would be a nicer place if we could supplant Dave Matthews with Matt Pond…

Rating: B+

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