Matt Pond PA – Emblems
This is an exploration that becomes a multi-layered experience of sounds, the exact moment where theory becomes practice and adds a personal touch to the formula; it is the moment where a personality is imprinted on music notes.
It is this gamut of emotions, harmony and intertwined voice and music at times where both elements are in perfect tune, it is simply empowering every single motif of the composition, instead of the string of motifs as a whole. These are the reasons why I turned my head to Matt Pond PA from the very first time I ever listened to them.
The kind of music that gives the perfect dimensions to its universe, with a well-defined length, width and exquisite depth courtesy of the background instrumentation and sudden sound effects that would come closer to our ears and fade; it is an amazing show of talent displayed on every single album by this band.
Having said the above, I must say that I was happy to hear that Emblems (released in 2004) was recently reissued this Monday (thanks, Polyvinyl Records!), for the greatest pleasure of all, in vinyl and includes 3 bonus tracks; this album included 12 tunes in its original release. Ain’t it the life or what?
I previously stated that Matt Pond PA accounts with depth of its own in terms of sound, which is certainly highlighted in its vinyl format of this album: the soft voice, instrumentation and timely effects on every song are the mix that is ready to give you the goose bumps through twists in every harmony as they has never been thought / felt before.
This is a rollercoaster of the heart that leads you down or up at will, but keeps a flawless balance between the feelings or memories awoken by it; that is to say, every track would have the capacity to make you think of something or someone, but would never leave you stranded in one specific sensation, like the distance between ‘Lily Two’ and ‘The Butcher’ (tracks 2 and 4, respectively), providing both happy, obscure and anxious tunes.
A strong sentence called ‘KC’ opens this album: ‘I remember you, do you remember me?’, accompanied by organ and acoustic guitar, then blended with electric guitar. The layers begin to unfold, delivering that uncertainty moment or memento that slowly slides into our heads.
Multi-choir, as the experience of sound reverbing in the sounds of an ancient building, capturing the spirit of every voice produced is the image created through every single part of a track, as in ‘New Hampshire’ (track 5).
Lyrics have strong contents, which combined with the content of music itself, makes this a vast playground for our senses, like ‘Summer (Butcher Two)’ and ‘East Coast E.’, having amazing light of their own through echoed and colorful harmonies, having voices that float throughout the air of that afternoon landscape (yes, those songs are THAT good!).
As the experience advances through electric and acoustic resources in perfect synchrony, the end comes and is called ‘Close (KC Two)’, a perfect track that may sound as the general experimental vein by Matt Pond PA, as it displays a slow and iterative riff in the shape of sampling. This was a perfect album closer, but then 3 bonus tracks came along:
‘Lily One’ boosts again our spirits with a kind of merry harmony set up over a mirror of rock drums and hands clapping. You definitely feel like moving your head to this song.
The second is ‘Red Ankles’, which is a display of chords with that special effect who should be Matt Pond PA TM’ed (trademarked!), which is the perfect tune between chords and Matt Pond‘s voice singing in unison. This is a rather organic track made of chords and acoustic guitars, and supported by an organ.
‘Counting Song’ is the last of this special vinyl edition, which I must say I liked better as album closer: acoustic guitars to the front, electric guitar and background made of what could be a moog. I loved the end in this one, with drums hitting quietly its toms and then a muffled snare, giving a final and dreamy end to the guitar arpeggio while Matt Pond sings numbers. Lovely!
This is ‘Emblems’ to me, like the pieces of the puzzle that finally match flawlessly and bring images to your mind or just lines of thoughts to create a landscape, where motifs are the priority rather than the complete melody. It is this kind of music that really makes you focus on details, on the little dot that makes a word that you will never forget.
And if it turns that you are a vinyl lover, then you can’t miss this opportunity.