Matt Pond PA had been around for nearly eight years when they released Emblems in 2004. This album launched their career to a new level, gaining them recognition in the mainstream (with the help of The OC). Their sound blends indie styles with the addition of very mellow string instruments and Matt Pond's unique vocals. Many of the songs on Emblems tend to have a drone which adds to their unique sound. Matt Pond PA has no true leading instruments, they all blend in perfect arrangements to create the songs. The lyrics are well written, insightful, and at times hauntingly beautiful. Unlike the majority of bands out there, But my favorite quality of MPPA's music is that every songs sounds as if it could be in a movie soundtrack in every different type of scene.
The album is at its best with the first three tracks, and the last quarter of the album. The band writes beautiful music that should really be given a listen by everyone. It's indie, but it feels like a purely new type of music.
Now, we get to the tracks.
1. KC: One of the catchiest tracks on the album, but really has some creepy lyrics. A really great guitar lick for an interlude between verses, simple yet sounding sophisticated among the rest of the instruments. A very solid song with no true flaws, but it's not what makes the album amazing. (4/5)
2. Closest (Look Out): This is where the album seems to pick up. Probably the best lyrics on the album (not that any of them are bad). "there is danger even in the simple word hello" This was the first single off the album and the first video by the band. Some coole electric instruments belnded with heavier percussion (for matt pond). This is one of the most beautiful songs on the album, and sounds like it took a lot of work to produce (5/5)
3. Lily Two: My first track i heard on the album, it's a very solid acoustic song with some very light backing by some weird instruments (droning) that i can't make out. It might be computerized, but that doesn't really matter. The lyrics are simple and sweet, a textbook lovesong with non-textbook feel. I really like the chorus and the interlude riffs, (4/5)
4. Bring on the Ending: One of the lesser tracks on the album. It's almost too depressing in the music. The lyrics are very good, but Matt's singing seems too sad. It uses the weird effect from Lily Two, its like a weird kinda sireny thing in the background. It's just nothing special, and a little too slow, when the album should be picking up (after three great tracks). (2.5/5)
5. The Butcher: String heavy, and a good shift in both speed and style on the album. It forshadows the louder, heavier MPPA from "Several Arrows Later." I really like everything about this song, from the singing to the cello and violin parts. The drums are a little tougher, which is a good change. (4.5/5)
6. New Hampshire: Layers of guitar and almost nonexistent percussion with the best music (for the lyrics) on the album. Matt Pond's voice at its best and some of the best lyrics on the album. Hands down, the most solid song on the album. A nostalgic portrait of Matt Pond(5/5)
7. Claire: Kinda reminds me of The Shins in this one. Another heavier guitar, drums and distortion song. Not as haunting as his other songs, upbeat and jumpy. It's still a good song, just not one that fits on this album. (4/5)
8. Summer (Butcher Two): Simple, but really good lyrics. A really good song overall. I like the guitar riffs, and the very steady, slow beat. Shows Matt's love for writing about the seasons in his music. (4/5)
9. East Coast E.: Working off the Lily Two riff, this song is really sad. Matt Pond's voice really adds to the affect in this song. The chorus is very strong and I really enjoy listening to this song. It makes me think of the seventies, for some weird reason. "extras get on the set," is one of the references to movies that matt pond usually makes in one or two tracks per album. (4/5)
10. Last Song: My favorite song on the CD. It's a really strong track that feels slow, but fast at the same time. The perfect chorus and use of strings. The tamborine is a nice added bonus along with the whining guitar and cello. Well arranged music always sounds great. (5/5)
11. Grave's Disease: Another one of those upbeat songs. However, this one is really good. Smooth guitar parts, and drumming. It is quicker paced, but it doesn't compromise the Matt Pond PA feel of the song. Good repeat of matt pond's voice in the chorus. Overall, it's the best "fast" track on the album. (5/5)
12. Close (KC Two): A very well written piece of music. A mellow end to a mostly mellow album. Nothing special, but it ends the album on a good note. Some good keyboards in it, and good lyrics. (3.5/5)
-Very Good Lyrics
-Well Written Music
-Matt Pond's Voice
-Upbeat, Drum Heavy Songs
-Sometimes too Sad
This album is absolutely great.