Synthesizers have found their way back into music so much that sometimes it feels like you’re listening to pop radio stations from the 1980s again. Except now, we hear it from every which angle: rap/trap music, soft rock, indie, pop and electronic. Even some country music artists have begun to meddle with synths. And we can add New York-based band Matt Pond PA to that group too.
But Matt Pond, the central figure around the band, is one of the good guys. It should be well-known how versatile and professional he is by now. He and his rotating cast of band mates (aside from longtime band mate Chris Hansen) are catchy enough to be heard on several national commercials and episodes of The OC (yeah, remember that show?), calm enough for your mom to like and indie (and old) enough my MySpace emo friends would list Matt Pond PA in their favorite music section. And being that this latest release, The State Of Gold, is their 11th album release, on top of just about as many EP releases, it is not wise or favorable to doubt Matt Pond.
Opener “More No More” is a lively toe-tapper that makes you think, “Ok, this is cool, I’m ready for this!” But then after hearing four songs in a row of synth pop with the same beat, by the time we get to “Emptiness” it is just that—a little empty. However, lyrically there is something to enjoy: “Everyone was saved, everyone survived for just one hour / The vernal royalty of the blue sky filled our bones and nothing mattered … I understand I don’t make sense / This starlight crush on emptiness / My empire’s radius extends all the way to my fingertips.” Finally, Matt Pond emerges!
Another nice track, “Don’t Look Down” pumps life back into the second half of the album following the also-repetitive title track midway through the album, where Pond’s lyrics do not save him.
While, yes, after two decades in the music business, Matt Pond should be pumping out some cooler, deeper shit, let’s not forget that again, much of his cult fan base are emo kids and young moms. The State of Gold satisfies the needs of those groups, and probably another Apple commercial.