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Matt Pond PA: The Dawning Of A New Day

It isn't anything new for a musician to record his music in a remote cabin (see: Bon Iver) or even try to get that outdoorsy effect in the studio (see: Fleet Foxes), but it can still be highly effective. For his latest album, The Dark Leaves, Matt Pond exiled himself to the woods in Bearsville, N.Y., to record some of his densest songs yet. Odd and lovely, The Dark Leaves is full of evocative concepts like those in "Starting," which exudes uncertain adventure amid desperately simple images: "A light bulb / fluorescent flash / and then we're gone."

Matt Pond PA doesn't piece together rock rhythms so much as orchestrate a series of movements, and "Starting" is no different -- a wilderness of sound cushioned by an atmosphere of rich harmonies. From a tight synthesizer rhythm to a sweeping, guitar-led chorus, the song offers up melancholy and emotional warmth in equal measure. It's more about the dawning of a new day than the haze of a setting sun, and what better place to start than that?

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Afton Lorraine Woodward