Matt Pond PA, Jesca Hoop
The track "Halloween" on Matt Pond PA's last album, Several Arrows Later, could have been the apt pinnacle for this band that has often been called "autumnal." In the anthem-like refrain, Pond laments, "Pardon the intrusion. Could we leave before it gets bad? I might smash up all the windows and set fire to the curtain" over the cello-driven melody. With the departure of cellist Eve Miller following that disc, fans may have rightfully wondered what the band would do sans strings. But Pond is prolific, and even the loss of a key musician (the band advertised for a new cellist on their MySpace page) did not stand in the way of the release of the seventh album, Last Light. Strings are still featured, but not as prominently. The result is a slightly more aggressive, guitar-driven sound. One of the highlights of the album, which feels a bit more disjointed than previous ones, is "Taught to Look Away" with Neko Case, whose voice adds depth to the already layered sound. The new sound should lend more energy to an already energetic live performance.
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