Essential New Music: Matt Pond PA’s “Still Summer”

Matt Pond and his ever-rotating gang of collaborators return with their 12th album, a melancholy song cycle that drifts down a river of long, empty days and warm, endless nights, haunted by the ghosts of lost love. The scenarios may be washed by the glowing heat of summer, but the chill of winter is lurking in the empty emotional landscapes Pond describes. His vocals seldom rise above a whisper and slowly pull you down into the album’s dreamy despondency. Even uptempo numbers such as “A Spark” and the title track are steeped in the knowledge of limitation and look forward to the inevitable end of all the good times. The strongest tracks are “Last Breath” and “Canada,” songs that face heartache directly, celebrating the momentary intensity of the love that makes life worth living. The ambient instrumental interludes that punctuate the tracks add to the overall feeling of hopelessness and sorrow.

j. poet