I have never been fond of EPs. Yet, lately, whenever there’s a CD that I really like, it’s an EP. There was Of Montreal’s Icons, Abstract Three, a supplement to Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?. This summer, matt pond PA released their own stellar supplementary EP to their upcoming album, Last Light. It seems utterly unfair that these supplementary EPs often turn out to be better than another band’s full-length album.
matt pond PA’s If You Want Blood consists of five songs that “couldn’t wait to be released,” arriving just a few months before the full-length is scheduled to drop on September 25. It’s excellent timing; a wonderful airy breeze dispelling the humidity and monotony of the summer heat.
The album breathes into life with the rollicking “Reading”, then shifts gears with the banjo-driven, country-tinged “Magic Boyfriend”. “Everything Until the East Coast Ends” is considerably more mellow, and features Matt Pond earnestly singing, “Everything you want to be, I can’t wait to see you be.” With a line like that, it should’ve been a cringe-inducing moment, but Pond’s soft sincerity lets him get away with it.
On a short EP packed with stellar songs, the most outstanding may be “If You Love”, which woos with bittersweet violins until Pond’s slightly gravelly voice, honest and affecting, guides us into the gently uplifting refrain: “If you live a love, live it like your last.” Here, Pond is straddling the delicate line between inspiring and cheesy; but his earnestness tips him over the edge to the former rather than the latter. The last track is the titular “If You Want Blood”, and it starts off urgently, then tapers into a fine almost-ballad.
The famous EP refrain: my one complaint I have about If You Want Blood is it’s too short. It whets the appetite, and doesn’t sate it. Then again, that was likely the intention behind the EP’s release, and now there’s one more person awaiting the arrival of September 25.