Matt Pond has always had a knack for capturing the the emotionally resonant tones of the in-between. The changing of seasons, the fading of day into night, and the subtle shifts in relationships are the long-tended bailiwick in which he and his longtime chamber pop ensemble, matt pond PA, best operate. Played out across Still Summer, the group's wistfully titled 12th outing, are small scenes whose impacts are often farther reaching than the bigger moments they serve to connect. In nearly every song, autumn seems to be just around the corner as Pond captures intimate moments like the two lovers sharing a late-night smoke in the opening track, "A Spark," which sings of "leaves on the floor, tell me there's more time left." In the gentle ballad "Canada," "leaves have started turning brown" and throughout the album, summer's glory is treated as something tenuous and ephemeral. The robust arrangements reflect the same golden-hour light that seems to fuel Pond's imagination, especially on highlights like "Street Squirrels" and "Rabbit," which treat the road as a place where nature briefly interacts with man between two often distant coasts. The partnership between Pond and longtime collaborator Chris Hansen manifests itself in a warm musical familiarity that essential signifies the project's PA tag. Both are credited as producers, guitarists, keyboardists, and vocalists, with Hansen also handling all the engineering and mixing. Linking the album's broader tissues are four instrumental tracks that range from textural field recordings to gently orchestrated full-band interludes, further emphasizing a thematic feel. While it offers no dramatic break from form, Still Summer plays like another well-written chapter in Pond's ongoing body of work.
AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger