Matt Pond

The Lives Inside the Lines in Your Hand

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While The Lives Inside the Lines in Your Hand is the tenth album for prolific singer/songwriter Matt Pond, it's also his first. Semantically, this release is the first credited simply to the singer's name, where before he'd been going by matt pond PA, that extra suffix suggesting a more collaborative effort coming from Pond and the musicians who made up his band at any given time. While Lives still features a lengthy list of contributors, there seems to be a renewed sense of purpose to this set of Pond's gentle-hearted indie songcraft. Beginning with the fresh-faced "Let Me Live," there's more optimism and sense of excitement to the songs than on previous albums. The production is crystal clear, and the arrangements are restrained without being too subtle. Electronic elements support the bright-eyed pop structures on songs like "Love to Get Used" and more traditional rock instrumentation drives uptempo emotional rockers like "Hole in My Heart" and the stormy title track. Pond's songs here smack with the passion of someone who's recently undergone a transformation, be it the devastation of a heartbreak or a brush with mortality. Instead of self-pitying songs of woe and loss, however, Lives is a collection of hopeful, almost wonderstruck looks at the human condition, delivered with enough tasteful and catchy hooks to make it one of the best albums in an already lengthy career from this seasoned indie troubadour.

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