Matt Pond PA's namesake singer/songwriter says he hates his band's name and as well he should. He doesn't live in Pennsylvania, and the original quintet dissolved when Pond left Philadelphia for Brooklyn in 2003. But after landing a tune on The OC and a gig composing for the Oxygen Channel, now isn't the time to start messing with name recognition. For his most recent album, 2005's Several Arrows Later, Pond does mess with the indie-chamber template, adding some chipper keys and guitar blare to the cellos and violas (which, to his credit, rock as hard as the rhythm section). With his pinched and yearning voice one that's too droll for pop, too dreamy for folk Pond gets by on existential vistas. He can turn an urban landscape into a psychic obstacle course, wonder how Canadians view the universe, and still not turn into an emo annoyance. And yet his best recording, last year's Winter Songs EP, is mostly covers, including a version of Neutral Milk Hotel's "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" that lilts and glides far above the original.
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