Matt Pond PA has always been prolific with EPs, most recently last year with If You Want Blood (oh, and also released their seventh full-length, Last Light – QRO review). And now the band/the man is making it even easier to get a hold of their music, with the latest EP up for free download on mattpondpa.com. While the honestly titled Freeep isn’t exactly revelatory, it’s still a nice holiday gift to fans.
Recorded at home in Bearsville, NY, The Freeep is definitely more stripped than Last Light, a mixture of sad songs and instrumentals. Opening duo “Hearts and Minds” & “Our Braided Lives” set the tone with sad beauty, touching, if a little mainstream. Matt Pond PA has never been one to veer too deeply into the indie pool, crafting a sound more at home in the Appalachian backwoods than Williamsburg. Sometimes that can get kind of boring, like on the over-choral “One and Only”, but it always carries well, such as with the more expansive “First Light” and relaxed “Amazing Life” near the end.
Instrumentals “#5”, “#3”, and “#1” – interspersed as every third track on The Freeep, in that order – are wistful and nice, but more easy listening than intense. And compared to the great rockin’ songs from Last Light like the title track and “People Have a Way” (QRO video), one does wish there was a bit more volume to The Freeep; it only really comes out on “Imperfect”, an alt-country strum with a blues-y guitar solo that’s more catchy and memorable than anything else on the record. But don’t look a gift horse in the mouth – and thanks, Mr. Pond.