The Matches

A Band In Hope

Written by: TL on 08/08/2008 23:47:48

Admittedly, all I knew of The Matches before receiving \"A Band In Hope\" was that they supported MC Lars on his \"Hot Topic Is Not Punk Rock\" track a good while ago, and as such, I was expecting something much more straightforward and.. well.. punk, than what is the case.

The Matches are a good deal more ambitious than that, and to paint a picture of their sound, I suppose you could start with a band as dramatic as Muse, give it pop-tendencies in the veins of Razorlight, make them as quirky as The Junior Varsity, and finally give them some x-factor that makes people think of Biffy Clyro, and we\'re effectively in some kind of sonic skirmish I haven\'t been in since I reviewed Say Anything\'s \"Play everything with help from everyone\"... or was it called \"In Defense Of The Genre\" ? I\'m so confused.

Opener \"AM Tilts\" hints at what the following \"Their City\" bellows at full force. These guys have messages, and they\'re playing every string in order to relay them as dramatically as possible. The next \"Wake The Sun\" is almost a polar opposite though, as it reveals the relevance of my Razorlight-comparison with its bouncy tempo and chorus, and \"Darkness Rising\" completes the circle, at four songs in, giving us a piano-ballad. Wow, that\'s a lot that just went on, what will these guys think of next?

\"To Build A Mountain\" sounds restrained in how it tip-toes around you like a cartoon-character hiding a sledgehammer behind his back, and \"We Are One\" isn\'t much different. \"Point Me Toward The Morning\" is the first song since \"Wake The Sun\" that really gets in your mind however, featuring a good buildup halfway through the song. At track 8, \"From 24C\" pulls the same trick as \"Darkness Rising\", bringing the tempo all the way down again. \"Clouds Crash\" takes the part as the playful acoustic song before \"Between Halloweens\" takes another jab as the full on schizophrenic epic. Queen easily comes into mind. As if The Matches hadn\'t already been all over every genre, \"If I Were You\" goes all old school punk rock on us, with damn catchy melodies and chorus lines, and then \"Future Tense\" shows us a very British sounding garage/indie sound. \"Yankee In A Chip Shop\" revisits the tendency of manic pop, realistically ending the album, unless you insist on counting the 1 minute buildup of \"Proctor Rd.\" that doesn\'t seem to lead to anything.

Phew! That\'s 14 tracks people, and I had something to say about every single one of them. That not only shows ambition but also a certain degree of success, seeing how easy it is to distinguish the songs apart. It also shows that while the band didn\'t stop at the minimum requirement of 10 songs, they also didn\'t pull a Say Anything on us, forgetting that \"less is more\" and throwing more tracks at us than we can bear to hear. In conclusion, I\'ll admit to not being taken completely aback by \"A Band In Hope\". The schizophrenia of it all is as taxing as it is intriguing, and I know I won\'t be putting this record on again and again on a regular basis. However, it\'s hard not to feel encouraged on behalf of music when a band displays this kind of artistic energy. As such, \"A Band In Hope\" should prove an interesting listen to just about anyone, and it deserves to be recommended highly.


Download: Wake The Sun, Point Me Toward The Morning, Between Halloweens
For The Fans Of: Say Anything, The Junior Varsity, Biffy Clyro,

Release date 17.03.2008
Pinnacle Records

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