With an emotional, countrified balance of pop & rock, Matt Pond PA’s seventh album is sure to be popular, especially between Bearsville, NY and Nashville. Upbeat, radio-ready melodies dominate Last Light in a shiny, modern take on Americana. Jogging beats and bright guitars complement Pond’s multi-faceted vocals through his variety of moods.
At thirteen tracks long, Last Light is a full catalog of truly ripe tunes. The opening title track spins the wheels on the gravel road, while “People Have a Way” coasts along a punching, open highway beat. The next two tracks are more subtle and acoustic-based, which charmingly mix up the pace. “Honestly” picks it back up before “Taught to Look Away”, Pond’s dramatic duet with Neko Case steals the spotlight.
Last Light turns a few more corners with a mixture of instruments and effects that make it extremely well-rounded. “Until the East Coast Ends” is a slow piano ballad, as sweet as it is short. “The Crush” is a staggering electric jam with a solo that conjures an agitated future. “Giving It All Away” is gripping, with a climactic acoustic swell and Pond’s beautifully strained vocals. “It’s Not So Bad At All” finishes smoothly on a final acoustic duet. The album accomplishes a lot with such a variety.
Last Light combines a travelling sound with introspection in a deep and charismatic effort. Beyond its looks-fast-sitting-still exterior, Last Light lyrically and musically exudes freedom, determination, hope, and cynicism. It’s both easy and difficult, and goes a long way to prove that being a little country doesn’t mean backwards.