Matt Pond PA - Last Light (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Matt Pond PA

Last Light (2007)


Isn't it strange how certain music can match the exact period it's released in even though release dates are set months in advance? Matt Pond PA's sound has always felt like the temperature creeping south, the leaves turning amber, and that brown sweater your significant other bought you last year from the Gap. Here we are just a few squares into this calendar year's autumn and Philadelphia's charming indie act have readied their latest album and seventh since 1998 (not to mention a slew of EPs). Last Light, in typical MPPA fashion will not immediately express its lasting endearment -- it's a record that grows with you, carrying you through the three months of fall, warming you for the winter hibernation.

The title track opens the album in a swift, gliding way, similar to children chasing a soccer ball on an autumn evening. Matt's vocals are as captivating as ever; while it remains virtually unscathed, maturing from album to album has really taught him how to make the listener embrace each word. Musically, it's like a starting pitcher battling for a chance to pitch in October -- a budding number that builds with urgency, setting up the following tracks without exerting itself. A clapping start-and-stop rhythm carries "People Have a Way," an uplifting song that's robust with musicians at the top of their game.

Much of Last Light is par for the Matt Pond discography. There are forgettable songs ("Locate the Pieces" and "Giving It All Away"), restful romance songs ("Foreign Bedrooms"), and glimpses of brilliance ("Basement Parties"). The latter feels similar to Several Arrows Later's stud "Halloween." It's humble in the guitars and mischievous in both the vocals and lyrics. If life were like the movies, this is the song that would be playing at the last party of the summer as you slowly empty your bottle of beer and nervously chat with the girl you've been eyeing since mid-June. MPPA have created a standalone song, though: "Taught to Look Away" is a slow romantic number that features a deep female voice matching Matt's note for note in one of the most minimally beautiful songs he has crafted to date.

Pond has a very extensive back catalog and the 13 tracks presented here compliment the rest of the discography well. It also perfectly greats the changing of the season from summer to fall. The days are shorter now and Matt Pond PA's Last Light is the perfect soundtrack to guide you home on a dark night.