Album Review: Matchbook Romance emerge from its emo shadows

By on April 26, 2006

Most bands will stick to that old antidote, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” especially when it comes to rock bands that are contained in the highly profitable rock format known as emo. However, Matchbox Romance has done something quite daring. They have decided to take a chance and make a record that would push the boundaries of not only their genre but also their musical ability.

In a world where rock music is smothered by the egocentric whines of post-hardcore and screamo outfits, it is tough to receive recognition if you are a band botched together in its self-indulgent havoc.

Matchbook Romance, debuted with its album “Stories and Alibis.” By 2003 ,screamo was becoming what “grunge” had become for the early 90s, a movement in rock that was diminished by its wide-ranging accessibility and replicated sound. Suddenly the personal dark emotions of grunge weren’t so personal when the whole world felt them and the same would follow in screamo’s sentiments.

For most screamo bands, the formula can almost be predicted: despairing gentle singing for the verses, and piercing aggressive screaming for the choruses, all in less than three minutes.

Fortunately Matchbook Romance, who could have remained quite secure in its emo/screamo format, decided to stray from its generic emo siblings. With the band’s new album “Voices,” they haven’t reinvented themselves quite yet, but have made huge attempts to do so.

The album immediately grabs listeners from the opening track “You Can Run, But We’ll Find You” where it becomes apparent they have shifted in sound. The band’s new craftwork is much more reliant on creating melodic hooks, swaying tempos, and epic choruses, bounds away from their debut album and also far more brilliant. The evolving band presents its new strengths with tracks such as “Surrender” that has a more bombastic sound similar to Muse, and “What A Sight” with a hauntingly echoed chorus akin to Coldplay (listen to Coldplay’s song “Twisted Logic”).

In addition to the superior sound of the album and the even stronger song formations, what is most impressive about Matchbook Romance is its ability to change and step out from the shadow of the emo/screamo format, which would have held them back artistically if they hid in. They weren’t scared or intimidated by the populous which would have been satisfied with another mediocre genre specific release.

Now that Matchbook Romance has entered a new stage in its musical life, the question is can they continue to progress into something unique, or will they continue to imitate other bands? Only time will tell.

Give this Track A Second Listen; “What A Sight”

Our rating: 3


About Justin Sindone