The kind of group that exists just beneath the radar, sneaking onto mix tapes and performing as the unknown but charming opener for a wide range of better-known acts, Matt Pond PA has always written great melodies. Formed when the band's titular head moved from New England to Pennsylvania, the group's undergone a number of lineup changes, the most recent being when Pond moved to Brooklyn prior to the recording of 2004's Emblems. With the change came a subtle but substantial shift away from the pretty shimmer and sway of delicate chamber pop toward a still lush but undeniably more rocking attack. At times on Matt Pond PA's latest, Several Arrows Later, the band sounds like a more refined Rogue Wave, blending indie pop and rock impulses. Pond's a wonderful craftsman with hooks sharp enough to cut glass, so if one prefers his gentler, laconic moments, it's only a quibble.
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