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Album Review

The former frontman for Mel's Rockpile here steps out with his own highly unusual band: a shifting agglomeration of acoustic guitar, cello, violin, French horn, flute, bass, and drums. Let's get the painful comparison out of the way upfront: There's simply no denying the fact that Matt Pond sings an awful lot like Robert Smith, and that he and his band sometimes sound uncannily like an unplugged version of the middle-period Cure (note particularly "The Hollows" and "New Fall"). But more frequently they sound pretty unique. Rare is the songwriter who can make non-embarrassing use of cello and French horn in a pop context, and Pond does so consistently throughout this subtly seductive album. At first listen, you'll think these songs are gloomy, but gradually you realize that they're really just slow; there's a quiet optimism at their core that gradually wears through to the surface with repeated listenings. What will convince you to listen repeatedly are the melodies: "Flying Through the Scenery" and "The Hollows" are pretty much irresistible, and most of the other songs aren't far behind them. Give it a chance, and this album will slowly take complete control of your brain.


Formed: 1998 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Although originally formed as a chamber pop quintet, matt pond PA went through several different lineups throughout its existence, with each incarnation revolving around the talents of singer/songwriter Matt Pond (previously of Mel's Rockpile). Pond formed the group upon relocating from New England to Philadelphia, and he filled out his first lineup with guitarist/bassist Josh Kramer, cellist Jim Hostetter, violinist Rosie McNamara-Jones, and drummer Sean Byrne. The band debuted in 1998 with Deer...
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Measure, Matt Pond PA
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