Listening to a Matt Pond PA record, especially Last Light, the band’s sixth full-length release, it’s tempting to complain that they never stray too far from the middle of the road, that they’d be well-served by working in a wider range of tempos and volumes. What quickly becomes clear, though, is that when they do experiment with slightly different approaches, the results are consistently disappointing. The comparatively raucous ‘Basement Parties’ and ‘The Crush’ sound thin in their attempts at crunchy guitars, and Pond’s vocals seem terribly out of place. On the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got quieter tracks like ‘Until the East Coast Ends’ and ‘Wild Girl’, both of which clock in under two minutes and yet still seem to drag on. The gently shuffling ‘Taught To Look Away’ suffers a similar fate, despite a vocal contribution from Neko Case. It’s a tough situation to be in, for sure, when challenging yourself yields shoddy results and doing what you do best renders you completely uninteresting.