The Matches – A Band In Hope


Artist

Album

A Band In Hope

Label

Epitaph/Shock

Year

2008

For Fans Of

Motion City Soundtrack – Head Automatica – Muse

Summary

This one’s a grower...

Rating

72 / 100

I’m really glad I gave this
record more time. Upon first listen I was fairly un-impressed with The Matches flamboyant take on modern rock, and although this isn’t
going to make my end of year top ten list, repeated listens to A
Band In Hope
has shown me that The Matches are capable of
crafting well structured and intelligent pop songs.  

I had no idea what to expect from
this album as I was completely un-familiar with TheMatches
up until this point, the only thing that I did know was that John
Feldman
(Goldfinger, The Used) and Mark Hoppus (as if I have
to tell you) had both lent their deft production touch to the band at
some stage in their career, therefore, I assumed The Matches were going to be another pop punk quartet. How wrong I was, as there
wasn’t a nasal American accent or pogo chorus (both of which I love
by the way) to be heard! Nope, what I did hear was an incredibly gifted
vocalist working with a band that is capable of providing him with a
variety of different musical foundations to build upon. 

The prominent bass lines of “AM
Tilts” give the song a groove that is as catchy as it is driving,
and when it meshes with Shawn Harris’ huge vocal delivery and
the layered guitar work of Jon Devoto you’re left with one
of the most creative pop tunes I’ve heard a long while. “Their City”
builds from its thunderous, drum filled intro into a hip shaking rock
song that no doubt had audiences across the world hanging on the band’s
every word, the unconventional guitar parts giving The Matches
a unique edge that many of their contemporaries would kill for.  

The Brit pop leanings of “Wake
The Sun” were lost on me however the soulful sounds of “Darkness
Rising” soon recaptured my attention, the stripped down vocal and
piano combination making for an almost theatrical experience. Apart
from the fact that the music is downright sleazy “To Build A Mountain”
gets the seal approval for its fantastic lyrics, the following gem being
the pick of the bunch: 

“Maybe a saint is just a
dead prick with a good publicist”
 

“We Are One” showcases another
impressive guitar performance while “Point Me Toward The Morning”
is the closest thing to The Matches pop rock roots, the riffs
and the melody sounding strangely reminiscent to the early nineties
hit “The King Of Wishful Thinking” (covered by New Found Glory for
all the kids out there).  

It’s a shame then that the album’s
strongest songs have already been and gone by this point, as the remaining
eight tunes simply do not stand up when compared to their earlier counterparts.
“From 24C” starts in an interesting fashion but doesn’t really
go anywhere while “Clouds Crash” is a fairly uninspiring ballad
that does little to separate itself from the countless other acoustic
numbers I’ve heard this year. “Between Halloweens” picks up the
pace however it’s momentum (and awesome lead guitar work) is offset
by the dull “If I Were You”. 

Conclusion

I can certainly understand why The Matches have been able to acquire themselves a sizable fan base, as their ability to knock out a catchy tune is second to none. It’s just a shame that they haven’t quite perfected the consistency required to complete an entire album that holds a listener’s attention.

Tracklisting

  1. AM Tilts
  2. Their City
  3. Wake The Sun
  4. Darkness Rising
  5. To Build A Mountain
  6. We Are One
  7. Point Me Toward The
    Morning
  8. From 24C
  9. Clouds Crash

2 Responses to “The Matches – A Band In Hope”

  1. apple

    you should have listened to decomposer before you reviewed this album, then you would be dissapointed like the rest of us.
    decomposer was amazing. 😀

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