To say I began listening to Matt Pond PA’s The Nature of Maps void of any bias would be a lie. As one of my all-time favorite live acts, I received this album ready to rant and rave about the group’s whimsical lyrics and intricate melodies.
The whim is present, as are the simple sing-along lyrics, but as the band’s fourth full-length, I expected much more out of these talented musicians than the repetitive, overly simplistic “The Party” and the annoyingly poppy “A Million Middle Fingers.” Granted, MPPA’s last album, The Green Fury set a nearly unrepeatable benchmark, but I hoped the trend of veteran bands putting out poor latter albums would skip over this one band.
Saved by outstanding tracks like “Summer is Coming” and “Athabasca,” I found myself more intrigued and attracted to the tracks in which cellist Eve Miller had a larger role. The most enjoyable part of the album was the separated introduction/conclusion duo of “No More (Again)” and “Summer is Coming.” “No More,” composed simply of cello and guitar, prefaces the latter, the two serving as one complete song in spite of the split. Maybe it’s just the changing seasons, or the looming hell of finals around the corner, but “Summer is Coming” has become one of my favorite songs.
I guess you could say this album is perfect — perfect for long, boring drives home from school or for the time you need some easily ignored background music to drown out the party downstairs.