Frontman Matt Pond doesn't care for the term "chamber pop," and it's a loose fit. His band's sound is more Delgados than Belle & Sebastian, which is to say that though the quintet frequently uses strings for texture and its melancholy tone, there's a sturdy indie rock undertone recalling Sebadoh, Ida, and Galaxie 500. The languid, lavishly melodic tracks are as comfortable as plush velvet, but for every few dreamy, atmospheric cuts, there's a punchy track echoing the New Wave romanticism of the Cure or New Order, with a dash of mod. On the band's latest, Last Light, Pond drifts further toward rock, dramatically downplaying the cello's role while surveying an eclectic range of styles including twangy psych-pop ("Locate The Pieces"), Big Star-ish folk ("Sunlight"), and even nervy, Bowery-bound indie rock ("People Have A Way"). After seven full-lengths in a decade of existence, it's appropriate, perhaps, for Pond to stretch. Though his band's undergone several lineup changes over the years, he's remained true to his string-driven indie-pop vision. Though the band's not nearly as precious live as it may seem on record, longtime fans may still be a bit surprised.
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