The Natural Lines Release First Five EP
The Natural Lines, the artist who previously recorded as Matt Pond PA,is pleased to share their latest single and video “Spontaneous Skylights 2” from the band’s First Five EP which is released today via Bella Union. The song and its accompanying video, which was created by Jen Taylor, follows the band’s recent single “The Problem Is Me”. Watch the video to “Spontaneous Skylights 2” below…
About the song and video Matt Pond says: “My friend Jen Taylor and I were laughing at ourselves a few weeks ago. We simultaneously seemed to have swerved—I changed the name of my band and she started working in television after years of working for herself. I mentioned our song ‘Spontaneous Skylights 2’ and about being out of sync with myself. In the song, I imagined the roof exploding and seeing our world from the stars. Space and time, completely out of whack. Something clicked and I wondered what Jen’s early films would look like with this current track. As if we might be able to make sense of our lives by attaching the present to the past.”
Matt Pond-watchers might wonder why the name change. Recorded with close collaborators and friends over a period that saw Pond make vital adjustments to his life, The Natural Lines’ stealth emergence reflects his desire to set a fresh pace for himself and come from somewhere new, somewhere more open. “I quit lying,” he adds. “I checked my harsher tones. I cut my drinking down. I went to therapy and stopped shouting at cars.”
Now, the name change honours his collaborators. Among a revolving cast, one constant presence in his work has been Chris Hansen, who plays guitar, bass, keys, saxophone and sings. Singer-songwriter Anya Marina, shines on “In The Dark” and Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins / Bella Union) lays down a lush bass on this tale of hide and seek with true connection. Other band members number Hilary James (cello/vocals), Kyle Kelly-Yahner (drums), Louie Lino (keys), Sarah Hansen (horns), Sean Hansen (drums/bass), Andy Dixon (drums), Kat Murphy (vocals) and, also on vocals, 17-year-old MJ Murphy, for whom Matt brims with praise: “She can do anything she wants to musically.”
A genuine rebirth for Pond and his friends, the result also pays warming and witty testimony to the value of reconfiguring one’s outlook. “I thought I might lose the realness in songwriting,” says Matt of his decision to steady his pitch. “I thought I’d have to surrender my edge and my shield. But if your best enemy is yourself, it’s hard to be in a band with the same name.
Matt has been anything but quiet since Still Summer (2017). A re-sequenced reissue of 2015’s The State Of Gold emerged in 2021, an EP of Covid-era originals and covers including The Thermals’ ‘Pillar of Salt’ appeared on the Songs of Disquiet EP in 2020, and soundtracks kept Pond busy. But The Natural Lineswas not a project to be rushed, and First Five gives a window into what is surely Pond’s best work yet.
A further departure from the past for Matt is ‘It’s a Trap’, where he sets out to surpass his own sarcasm, hunting and holding onto hope within his hands. “Morning comes an hour late” gently opens ‘Spontaneous Skylights 2’ and before we know it the roof blows off the building. When ‘The End of theWorld’ arrives, The Natural Lines appear to have survived and surrendered to love.
“Once I took control of my mind, I could see what I wanted to say more clearly. Instead of random floods of mania and panic, I felt like I was composed and composing. It has become as simple as reading thewords of a sentence in the right order. As small as the pause before I hit ‘send’.” A development, you might say, conducted along the most natural of lines.
First Five EP is out now!