The Natural Lines may have just released their debut album, but their chief songwriter has been around long enough to achieve song placement on The O.C. Newly rebranded from Matt Pond PA, that moniker’s title figure is joined by a more constant cast of collaborators than his two decades’ worth of output under the old name permitted, with the group’s Bella Union–released self-titled album proving a bolder full-band affair exploring a more robust indie-folk sound than Matt Pond PA tended to traverse.
In spite of the fairly new terrain, Pond never sounds lost on The Natural Lines—though he does address this sensation on the late-album cut “Person of Interest” as he meditates on the conflicting emotions that a change in scenery often brings. “The first time I drove out West, I was 18,” he recalls. “We had to sleep on the side of the highway in our station wagon because we’d been driving straight from New Hampshire. We woke up in the Arizona desert. I had been raised in the mountains, engulfed in green leaves. In the desert, there was endless open space and so many shades of brown. I felt totally lost, like I was nothing. A part of me was terrified, a part of me was thrilled. I could be no one, I could be anyone. And in the song, there is the same feeling of being both.”
True to that memory of his time in the Southwest, the new Nikki Salt–directed visual for the track sets the song within a terrain that matches the lyrics’ sense of alienation—and counters the instrumental’s lush sound. “My friends in Arizona shot the video with this corresponding sensibility in mind,” Pond continues. “Beautiful, wide desert scenes set against the simplicity of love and ‘normal life.’ I didn’t want to be in the video because it increased that sense of displacement—these days, we don’t have to be anywhere specific to be a part of something happening far away. Also, I love it when other people sing our songs.”
Check out the video below, and listen to the full album here.