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Artificial Moonlight by The Natural Lines

The Natural Lines, the band formerly known as Matt Pond PA, has recently released their self-titled album digitally via Bella Union, with the physical album set to be released on April 21. One of the tracks on the album, “Artificial Moonlight,” has a particularly interesting backstory, according to frontman Matt Pond. Pond explains that the song was inspired by a vision he had of a stolen moon in the backseat of his friend’s convertible. From there, he built a two-dimensional moon in his backyard and enlisted his friends to help him film a music video for the song.

The music video for “Artificial Moonlight” was shot over a couple of hot summer nights with a skeleton crew and a few great friends, according to Pond. The first night of filming took place on Pine Road in New Paltz, but they were shut down by the police due to the use of an SUV with a generator and two big stage lights attached to the roof rack. However, they were able to resume filming on the second night all around town in Kingston, NY, where they clipped cameras to the car and used mostly ambient light.

The result of their efforts is a music video that perfectly captures the dreamy, otherworldly vibe of “Artificial Moonlight.” The video features Pond and his friend driving around with the stolen moon in the backseat of the convertible, chasing an earthbound spaceship. The visuals are striking, with flashes of lightning from an imminent storm providing a natural and breathtaking special effect.

The album as a whole is a gorgeous collection of intimate reflections from a relocated, renamed, and revivified talent. Pond explains that he wanted to write as purely as he could, without getting stuck in the “tour, write an album, release an album, tour” cycle that can be so draining for musicians. He wanted to write an album and then make sure it was done, without any rush or pressure to get it out quickly.

The album’s pace is notably different from Pond’s previous work, with a greater emphasis on measured songcraft, melodic immediacy, collaborative detail, and wryly questioning lyrics. “Monotony,” the album’s opening track, is a glistening, meditative tune that reflects Pond’s desire to work with the song and find its pocket. Other tracks on the album, such as “No More Tragedies” and “HELP,” explore themes of frustration and connection, respectively, with a healthy dose of self-reflection and self-awareness.

Overall, The Natural Lines’ self-titled album is a stunning work of art that showcases Pond’s growth and evolution as a musician. The album is both introspective and universal, with lyrics that are personal yet relatable. And with the intriguing backstory behind “Artificial Moonlight” and its music video, the album is all the more captivating and unique. Fans of indie rock and introspective singer-songwriter fare should definitely give this album a listen.