I once had a substitute teacher that repeated something 10 times, because he said that people have to hear something at least 8 times before it actually gets into their head. I had to see Matt Pond PA in print 10 times before I went to buy their latest, Emblems. When I got to the store, they didn't have it until 2 weeks later.
Matt Pond's voice inflections are at times like Tim Kasher resulting in the band having a similar sound to the Good Life. Another Tim Kasher connection is that Cursive has a song called "Butcher the Song," while Matt Pond PA has a song called "The Butcher." As if two connections were not enough, Cursive is one of the few bands that have a permanent cellist and so is Matt Pond PA! For a different comparison, Matt Pond PA have the pop sensibility of Death Cab for Cutie mixed with the somber undertones of Elliott Smith.
The album begins with arguably the best track on the album, "KC." A catching number with lyrics filled with vivid imagery. The acoustic and electric guitar, cello, bass, and drums intertwine to produce a mellifluous sound that will force the melody into your head. The comparatively brighter "Closest (Look Out)" offers advice and warnings along with desperation for affirmation. "The Butcher" is a disturbing song with the cryptic lyrics and aggressive cello. The arrangement allows the cello to be heard at all times to create a haunting track.
"New Hampshire" is not a very exciting song with minimal drumming, the same chord progressions, and the occasional pedal steel. It is also the most depressing on the album with the words, "this probably won't work out/we might not live forever/while there's nothing to confess/please pay attention." Generally summer is a blissful season, but Matt Pond has an awkward time presenting his happiness, because he displays his nervousness perfectly in "Summer (Butcher Two)." The song, however, does have a pop melody that conveys a cheerful tone. Like most of the songs, the band leaves the listener with a sense of helplessness and sadness. In "Close (KC Two)," the last track of the album, their choice of keys and tempo, and lyrics express a bleak ending.
Any band that is able to employ a classical instrument like a cello, without sounding cheesy, automatically gets a tenth of a point added to their score. The arrangements are pretty, but the lyrics were a little too much of a downer.
8.1 / 10
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