When Matt Pond dropped the “PA” in his name, it was largely symbolic. After nearly a decade as Matt Pond PA, the group has been a revolving-door of members, with the exception of main collaborator Chris Hansen. Pond’s new solo record makes clear the extent to which he’s been the driving force behind the sound attached to the moniker.
The Lives Inside the Lines in Your Hands runs in succession to Pond’s previous work, with the exception of a few peppier tracks. Most songs comfortably fit into a category I maybe unfairly have in my head called “As heard on The O.C.” That’s not meant to be a slam, but more a description of a type of calm indie pop that can pleasantly melt into the background.
As far as the tracks with more than the usual Pond momentum, he’s referenced breaking his leg while on tour as creating a need for more movement in his music. Opening track “Let Me Live” establishes Pond’s shift in tone with snappy drums and plenty of “woh-oh”s. The song’s bounce carries through the very early portion of the album, like on first single “Love to Get Used”, with its fast guitar line and buoyant vocals on crashing drums.
There’s a also a point where Pond winds down. The shady, darker “Human Being” introduces the banjo and it’s a welcome addition on a record that’s otherwise uniform. Still, Pond closes out in the sunlight and the drumless “Strafford” favors some nice finger picking on guitar, dissolving the “PA” from anyone’s thoughts.
Essential Tracks: “Let Me Live”, “Human Being”