Music » Livewire

Matt Pond PA

With the New Pornographers and the Frames. Friday, February 22, at the Beachland Ballroom.

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Many years ago, Matt Pond was making a big noise with the punkish Mel's Rockpile, and after finding that association creatively stifling and unsatisfying, he relocated from his idyllic New Hampshire surroundings to the grittier confines of Philadelphia. This culture clash has defined Pond's subsequent creative output.

Since his 1998 debut, Deer Apartments, Pond has released a series of gorgeously arranged and intimately constructed indie pop masterpieces to great critical acclaim, if little commercial notice. Pond's baroque pop jones has quite a lot in common with his punk roots and is manifested in darker, more ominous sonic markers like the Cure and the Fall. After Pond filters those influences, his grandiose yet stripped-down pop inventions suggest an affinity to Mark Eitzel's sparse solo ventures coupled with Nick Drake's fuller, fleshier moments.

Pond's latest creation is the much-anticipated full-length The Green Fury, the follow-up to 2000's well-received Measure and the surest proof yet of the potential that Pond has been hinting at over his past few releases. Perhaps the biggest news on The Green Fury is the way that Pond's erstwhile players (folks like cellists Jim Hostetter and Eve Miller, drummer Mike Kennedy, guitarist Jim Kehoe, and bassist Matthew Raisch, among others) have coalesced into a unified band behind Pond's songs, which still offer oblique observations into his ongoing urban-hell-vs.-pastoral-hell conflict. In much the same way that Joe Pernice has resolved the gulf between his rock-based past and his pop-infused present, Matt Pond has successfully planted his brilliant chamber-pop aspirations atop his perpetually agitated rock foundation.

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