Philadelphia-native Matt Pond PA – singer/songwriter Matt Pond, along with guitarist/bassist Josh Kramer, violinist Rosie McNamara-Jones, cellist Jim Hostetter, and drummer Sean Byrne – has been playing since the band formed in 1998. The band has quickly made waves in the music press with Rolling Stone magazine naming Matt Pond PA as one this year’s “Ten Artists To Watch.” Like contemporaries The Shins and Brendan Benson, Matt Pond PA creates a pop and alternative mix of poignant lyrics and calming vocals.
“Pond’s wonderful Robert Smith meets Peter Gabriel meets Conor Oberst voice is shot through with wistfulness.” – The Sunday London Times
The band works very well together – the music flows and integrates nicely, nothing is drowned out. The music blends with Matt’s vocals, creating a pleasant equilibrium of harmony. The album flows like a snake, waving from the band’s style to styles of other contemporary bands. The album’s title track “Several Arrows Later” reminds me of The Push Stars while “It Is Safe” resembles Badly Drawn Boy. There is a hint of Wallflowers front man Jakob Dylan in “Devil In The Water.”
To the untrained ear, Matt Pond PA could be mistaken for classic emo with its tear inducing, sad sounding “City Song.” But emo isn’t what the band is aiming for. Although not to be stuck in a single sound, mpPA does venture into unchartered sounds, like rock with a slightly short hard guitar riff in “Emblems” (I know I’m pushing it) and with an unusual guitar melody in “Spring Provides.” But when “Brooklyn Stars” hits, you know what the band’s real strength is.
Matt Pond PA will commence a nationwide tour at the end of January 2006.