Straightforward snare hits, pressing guitar and Matt Pond’s slightly breathy vocals lead immediately into the first track off Matt Pond PA‘s new Spring Fools EP entitled “Love to Get Used.” “Let’s hang on to abandon, let’s hope we lose control, to be out in the open, baby, and let go of the road.” This is perfect early morning road trip music right here, something to rock out to with the wind blowing in your hair and your bff by your side. It’s perfect solo three-minute bedroom dance party (BYOLW-bring your own leg warmers) music too. You choose your own adventure.
A smooth transition into “Human Beings” keeps the listener moving with its upbeat 80s ska/reggae style drumming (think English Beat) and on the upstroke of the guitar. Some light, drifting organ in the background helps fill out the sound but only after a few listens does it actually become noticeable, as Matt’s vocals are showcased as the prominent player in this song. It has a low key radio friendly 80s vibe to it, which is pleasant yet not all that memorable, and kind of leaves me wanting to drift off like the organ … and go listen to The Police instead.
“Lovers Always Win,” in my opinion, is the catchiest of all the tracks, with its light, bouncy piano and easy to follow beat, you’ll instantly start snapping your fingers and swaying back and forth. If you’re on that road trip with your bff, you’ll both be bobbing your heads and smiling fondly at each other each time the chorus comes in (note: good track for absolving any road rage). Nineteen year-old, Austin native, singer Ariel Abshire slips her soft, heartfelt vocal stylings into this track, starting with the first chorus, and truly complementing Matt’s vocals. Towards the end of the song, slide guitar also slips in, adding some dynamic to the track and the last lyric of “Lovers Always Win” is smartly left rolling off of Ariel’s tongue.
“Spring Fawn” takes us away from any 80s vibe we were feeling earlier and seems like more of a throwback to 60s psychedelic pop at its core. This song has a laidback, sluggish tempo w/tambourine and shakers, guitar solos, and the most pronounced vocal performance from Matt. But wait … that intro … am I tripping? Now I could just be still recuperating from that 4th of July hangover but I swear it kind of sounds like a mellowed out, slowed down version of that Blind Melon song “No Rain.” I advise you take a few listens, start singing “All I can say, is that my life is pretty plain….” and see what you come up with. While the does-it-sound-like-Blind-Melon-or-not debate continues, there’s no debate that this song is still well arranged and perhaps one of the strongest on the album.
The EP rounds out nicely with “Sugar Bush,” a much less derivative sound, with solid arrangement and instrumentation. That slide guitar that creeped in earlier on “Lovers Always Win” makes a comeback here, adding melodic richness to the track. Also, Leslie Sisson lends her poignant harmonies to the vocals here and soon enough you may find yourself back on the road again, smiling fondly at each other and singing along, “Our hearts keep singing loud and true, our hearts keep singing out they do.” Or one of you will be passed out and the other one skipping back to track three to stay awake.
This is a band with clear talent, possibilities and skills but they don’t seem to realize them consistently across the board. It’s a bit of a subdued sound at times which makes it feel a little lackluster here and there, but overall they mix it up track by track, offering some variation and solid playing, which keeps the listeners attention, first mine, now yours!
Album Review by Emily Saex
FREE mp3 downloads:
“Love To Get Used To” – Click here to download
“Sugar Bush” – Click here to download.