Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Sometimes the only thing you can do to retain any fraction of your sanity is to break out all of the windows in the place you're living in and then maybe finish the job by setting fire to all of the curtains - those sad things now framing these openings of jagged glass. Sometimes the only amount of clarity that you have on your side is still pretty smudged. It makes for an unsettling existence and it assures you that there will be some prolonged periods of grief. You'll just have to deal with them. These are the parts of life that are the equivalent to the part of February and early March when the ground is still stubbornly covered in the crunchiest, shittiest snow you're ever going to see. It's dirty and it's ugly and you want it nowhere near you. You just want it gone and yet, you have no control over its stay. It will be here as long as it wants to be here and all you've got are your positive thoughts of a warming, of the eventual thaw.
Matt Pond PA, a band comprised of the man and the state he represents (Matt Pond and the state of Pennsylvania), presents people the way they appear in faded light and frayed dispositions wringing their hands and throwing up their arms when the hands have been wrung as much as they can stand to be wrung. They aren't putting up white flags because there are still kicks to be kicked, moments that get bucked, but there's a bit of a submission process that takes place, where the idea is that there sure is a lot that needs to get handled here and there's a question of how well anyone's handling any of it. We're continuously met with stories of ill return, of people who can't escape the numbness that has set in. It's an attack of the winter months. It's going into a form of hibernation that's more just a form of coping that makes it all feel less dooming. Pond sings, "You were talking about heaven/All I see is the unknown." One could argue, "Yes, absolutely. So, you're seeing eye-to-eye." The unknown is definitely a form of heaven, if not the whole thing, but Pond can't cut through the vines or the clouds to see it that way, nor does that seem right anyway. "The emptiness keeps us afloat," he offers elsewhere and this is more of an answer and an explanation than anything else. Those broken windows keep us afloat and so do those curtains that have burst out into a raging flame, so hot that you have to step outside and watch from there. It's the general awkwardness of being that we will always have to adjust to. Pond reminds us that there's no way to the heart, other than awkwardly, and we nod solemnly. That much is clear. There's no way to survive other than doing it awkwardly, so we keep it going.