This opus by matt pond PA is the band's second for Polyvinyl Records. Entitled The Nature of Maps, it contains 12 songs and clocks in at about 38 minutes. Matt Pond has a recognizable voice, one that is no doubt capable of surviving, if not flourishing, on "alternative" radio. In many aspects, Pond and company aren't too far removed from the full sound of, say, Jackson Browne or modern-day comrades Koufax. Tunes like "Close Map" declare a liking for rich textures, filled with strings and jolly upbeats on guitar and drums. Other tunes showcase a more morose attitude, yet the strings are still prevalent, as are other backing instruments including vibraphone, keyboards, piano, and banjo. At times the album comes off as quite triumphant, yet never self-righteous. On other occasions it is in the delicacy that the whispering instruments prove that Pond's formula for what some may think as an archaic sound is actually noble and relevant. These 12 tracks are compositions to the fullest extent, filling the listener up with the realization of the power of music in its richest form. The only minor complaint here is the poor layout, which hardly comes close to matching the intelligence of the sound located within. Nevertheless, while the music may be hard for some to grasp, those who consider themselves mature, serious music listeners should find The Nature of Maps a gratifying, lavish album.
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AllMusic Review by Kurt Morris