Matt Pond PA is about to break up, but no one is leaving the band.
Pond has announced plans to end the musical project he began in Philadelphia 10 years ago. Then he'll team up with the same four guys to record and tour as the Dark Leaves.
Call it a gimmick, but to Pond it's all about shaking up the band's artistic balance of power. He says the Dark Leaves' songs will be entirely collaborative creations.
Pond has suggested the Dark Leaves may not play Matt Pond PA songs anymore. And that would be a lot of songs to leave behind. The band has released eight CDs that have been beloved by some and belittled by others, but ignored by few.
That's because Pond's breezy, bread-and-butter rock brims with obvious hooks and obvious emotions. It's familiar musical territory that just happens to be better than 90% of the stuff it sounds like.
During Pond's career, rock music has increasingly become a high-concept affair. Experimental bands like Radiohead have become the standard-bearers of the genre.
When Pond recorded a sugar-sweet cover of Oasis' "Champagne Supernova" for the teen-friendly O.C. soundtrack, it didn't do much to boost his indie credentials. But it won over a lot of fans.
Last Light was released in 2007 and may go down as the Matt Pond PA finale. There would be no shame in that. The album contains some of the best songs the band has ever made. The title track is a near-perfect ode to nostalgia, built on simple chord progressions that hark back to the golden age of rock 'n' roll.
The demise of Matt Pond PA won't come until at least May 9, when they conclude their current tour in Baltimore. And Pond has said the Dark Leaves won't officially commence until their debut CD is released sometime later this year. But the lyrics to "Last Light" suggest a conclusion is near.
"In the end there will be perfect endlessness," sings Pond, "when we're gone, when we're gone, when we're gone."