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Matt Pond PA - Last Light Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.75
Musicianship 9
Lyrics 7.25
Production 8
Creativity 8
Lasting Value 7.5
Reviewer Tilt 8.25
Final Verdict: 81%
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Inside AP.net

Matt Pond PA - Last Light

Reviewed by: Julia Conny (09/29/07)
Matt Pond PALast Light
Release Date: September 25, 2007
Record Label: Altitude Records


Right this second, I am sitting on my bed and watching my cat nibble at my laptop cord. Last Light is bouncing ‘round my head like a captured echo, and everything about the song that’s currently playing (“People Have A Way”) is making me feel like life is just a bit more significant tonight. I get this way often when I listen to a Matt Pond PA album, whether it be walking the half-mile to class, driving these fading white lines, or just sitting here. If you’re a Matt Pond PA fan, perhaps you can understand. Lyrically, mpPA asks vague questions that have lost answers and prefers it that way. Instrumentally, mpPA casts a soft whiskey breath against flowing pings and pangs of acoustic guitars and keyboards … packed with hooks, of course. There are less of his trademarked strings, but that doesn’t make Last Light any less pretty. The arrangements are interesting but simple transitions, each multi-leveled to be sweet, sour and sad. For the above reasons, Last Light is precisely what I expected from Matt Pond PA, and the above reasons are precisely why I am such a big fan. But have I heard this trick before?

Now I’ve come to the track “Taught To Look Away.” The alt-country slow song takes guest singer Neko Case’s throaty, heavy-lidded humming and pairs it with Pond. This is an absolutely breathtaking vocal combo. The gentle piano is unadorned and the track speaks miles about the exquisiteness behind simplicity. More tracks feature guest-star appearances from other indie rock friends, but the Neko Case twosome is the only one that stands out. Besides “Taught To Look Away” and a couple others, Last Light is a majority of whipped, faster-paced numbers; the band tries their hands at a bit of bite in songs like “The Crush."

Traveling through the mpPA discography outlines a gradual but definite progression. Going from the beginning albums to 2005’s Several Arrows Later and then this year’s If You Want Blood EP, Last Light shows mpPA getting more accessible and friendly. The production is crystal clear (bred from the hands of Matt Pond himself) – from the sharp and high riffs on “The Crush” to the intimacy of the Case and Pond duet, Matt Pond PA has evolved from nature-ambling chamber pop to a universal indie rock band. Their tunes have always been organic and somewhat liberating, but with the crisp production and mpPA’s airy flow, Last Light builds a spacey atmosphere (see “It’s Not So Bad At All”) that is easy to digest.

Lasting power might as well be a four-letter word. Because Matt Pond PA never lets me forget my favorite songs, it works differently for this band and I. On each of his past albums, I have my favorite track or three, and I listen to those tracks until I seamlessly incorporate them into the significance of my own life. Last Light is still new to my mind. I am unqualified to play favorites now, but “Honestly,” “It’s Not So Bad At All,” “People Have A Way,” and “Taught To Look Away” are all valuable candidates. Oh wait, what about “Sunlight?” Or what about the title track? Those two are also vibrating my lobes nicely. Does this mean that there is not a single track off Last Light that resonates to perfection? Or does this mean that mostly everything on Last Light is its own little princess? An album like this takes time and repetition to discover its exclusive complexion. If not, it risks losing flavor among your favorite mpPA records.

Check It OutOfficial Website | AP Profile | Myspace
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 24.
10:44 AM on 09/29/07
#2
evan324
just put some vinegar on it dummy
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i picked this cd up a few days ago never hearing them before, i really like this cd a lot.. good review as well.
11:18 AM on 09/29/07
#3
SteveLikesMusic
I'm A Man, Dammit
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Basement Parties FTW
11:32 AM on 09/29/07
#4
saysmydoctor
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Julia Conny, that was probably the single best introduction paragraph ever composed by any staffer on this website. Review of the year? I'm thinking yes.
11:48 AM on 09/29/07
#5
Praetor
as we melt, let's make no noise.
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Fucking beast of a review.
11:49 AM on 09/29/07
#6
godzillany
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Matt Pond never dissapoints its yet another top 5 album of the year
12:31 PM on 09/29/07
#7
mortal soldier
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Great album, amazing review.
12:33 PM on 09/29/07
#8
tm decomposer
KEMBA WALKER 4 PREZ!!
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My favorite reviewer reviewing one of my favorite albums this year. Great job Julia.
01:46 PM on 09/29/07
#9
panicbxmb
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i just have to add to the praise of what a great reviewer you are! i've honestly never listened to Matt Pond PA, but right now i really want to. you made me a little hyped for an album i didn't care about 5 minutes ago, and you used extremely well written paragraphs to do so.

now if only every music review were written as intelligently...
02:10 PM on 09/29/07
mutualaddiction
How am I not myself?
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I bought this yesterday, and I have to say I agree pretty much %100 with this review. Plus it's Well written, informative, honest, and fun to read, Well Done.
03:53 PM on 09/29/07
Julia Conny
"Julia HurriConny"
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Julia Conny, that was probably the single best introduction paragraph ever composed by any staffer on this website. Review of the year? I'm thinking yes.

My cat was my muse for the evening. He's pretty inspirational. Thank you though. You have no idea how much that means to me.

Fucking beast of a review.

I love the word beast. You're a beast!
04:01 PM on 09/29/07
Julia Conny
"Julia HurriConny"
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Matt Pond never dissapoints its yet another top 5 album of the year

I can't decide where it's going to be in my list, but I definitely think that it's going to make my top 30.

Great album, amazing review.

My favorite reviewer reviewing one of my favorite albums this year. Great job Julia.

Thanks! I love you both!
04:05 PM on 09/29/07
Julia Conny
"Julia HurriConny"
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i just have to add to the praise of what a great reviewer you are! i've honestly never listened to Matt Pond PA, but right now i really want to. you made me a little hyped for an album i didn't care about 5 minutes ago, and you used extremely well written paragraphs to do so.

now if only every music review were written as intelligently...

My job is done! I'm a newer fan of mpPA, but I feel in love with this band very quickly. I hope they can do the same to you.

I bought this yesterday, and I have to say I agree pretty much %100 with this review. Plus it's Well written, informative, honest, and fun to read, Well Done.

What song is your favorite? I can't decide.
05:43 PM on 09/29/07
Travis Parno
my sensible heart
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fantastic review of a fantastic album!
05:46 PM on 09/29/07
notdarren
notMcLeod either
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been meaning to listen to this, and i definitely will do that now. great review, julia.
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