The Matches
A Band In Hope


3.0
good

Review

by Dr Dave De Sylvia STAFF
May 17th, 2008 | 18 replies | 7,124 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: At the very least, the Matches could never be accused of avoiding trends.

Another Matches album, and yet another dramatic shift in styles. With 2006’s Decomposer, the move was from the sincere, catchy pop-punk of their debut E. Von Dahl Killed The Locals to furious dance-punk grooves. With A Band In Hope, the Matches have embraced indie rock with a grounding in bombastic power-prog. At the very least, they could never be accused of avoiding trends.

In their defence, A Band In Hope is at least faithful to the original sources- Rush, the Clash, the Cure, the Undertones, etc.- rather than their trend-hopping peers. Yet A Band In Hope is the Matches’ third record, and still there is not even a hint of a core sound- something to bind all the elements together, something to scream “I’m original” amid the chorus of diverse influences. While A Band In Hope is easily the group’s most immediate and accessible record, it would perhaps be more believable if it was a compilation of fourteen different bands as a definitive statement by one now-veteran group.

The album kicks off on an awkward note, with the dire opening line: “Come now, what’s your name?/I’m not implying that come morning I’ll need to know/But you never know.” Whether or not vocalist Shawn Harris was aiming for smooth or ironically awful is irrelevant- the effect is brutal. First impressions are difficult to recover from and, though the Matches make a fair go of it, A Band In Hope never really recovers from its clunking introduction- sugary sweet and Robert Smith-influenced though the opening track may be.

A welcome introduction to the Matches cannon is a progressive hard rock influence as typified by the Harris’ Geddy Lee-aping vocals on ‘Their City’ and the Alex Lifeson-like dramatic guitar sweeps which accompany, or the chunky ‘More Than A Feeling’-like guitar riff that underpins ‘We Are One.’ The latter’s vocal track quite neatly bridges the short gap between Rush and Rage Against The Machine, once and for all proving the theory that all rock music produced since 1974 sounds pretty much the same. ‘Darkness Rising’ recalls Showbiz-era Muse, matching a baroque piano motif with elegant dual-vocals before building to a show-stopping finish with gang vocals as if in a Broadway musical.

‘Point Me Toward The Morning’ harks back to the band’s early days with razor-sharp punk guitars, while ‘Between Halloweens’ recalls the frantic undercurrent of early Coheed and Cambria. ‘Clouds Crash’ is reminiscent of the Beatles’ ‘Across The Universe’ and highlight ‘If I Were You’ combines the paranoiac catchiness of Northern Ireland’s Undertones. The reggae groove of ‘Yankee In A Chip Shop’ is gloriously reminiscent of the latter-day Clash and ‘Wake The Sun’ combines the same with twee Grandaddy-like synths, but never do the Matches ever throw up something that sounds like the Matches- and all the pure pop melodies and production tricks could never obscure such an essential missing ingredient.



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user ratings (59)
Chart.
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2008



17920 Comments


nice

doritos
March 20th 2008



75 Comments


I pretty much agree.

Altmer
March 20th 2008



5652 Comments


you should be on staff

Intransit
March 20th 2008



2797 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I definitely don't hear Rush or Boston or anything like that on this. Pretty great album though. Not nearly as good Decomposer though.

And I dunno I think AM Tilts is pretty badass.

Aficionado
March 20th 2008



1027 Comments


Rush are fucking overrated

Intransit
March 20th 2008



2797 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah I don't like Rush either but this outside of the vocals sometimes doesn't remind me of Rush at all.

Intransit
March 21st 2008



2797 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't agree but I guess we'll leave it at that.

Decomposer was much better than this.

samthebassman
March 22nd 2008



2164 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

For me this is a step backward after Decomposer.

Chewie
March 25th 2008



4531 Comments


thi is pretty good stuff.

talentint
April 8th 2008



4 Comments


"‘Point Me Toward The Morning’ harks back to the band’s early days with razor-sharp punk guitars,"


that song is probably my favorite from this album for that reason exactly.

the matches circa e. von dahl are my favorite, even though there is some sort of evolution through their albums, i miss them sounding like they did when they put out that album.

although this album isnt their best, it's still decent.

tazzyerr
April 24th 2008



2 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

although all of The Matches albums are slightly different, no one can fault them for not being original?

no one can say that they are in the slightest 'boring,' with each album sounding slightly different, it interests a wider audience to appreciate their fantastic lyrics and catchy, interesting music.

although very different from the other albums, this is more than a decent album. it's, different. in a good way.This Message Edited On 04.24.08

SpinLightTwo
May 25th 2008



1025 Comments


not a 5 by far. I can't really get through the record at all.

SpinLightTwo
June 9th 2008



1025 Comments


to build a mountain is really good though.

BlackFire2
September 17th 2008



3 Comments


This album is better than what the review says. So, it sounds different. Big deal, they did the same thing with Decomposer, and while it wasn't as good as E. Von Dahl, it was still amazing.

foreverendeared
September 17th 2008



14678 Comments


This album is better than what the review says
opinions?

MaskAtTheMasquerade
May 20th 2009



2887 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

it certainly is a step down from the previous 2 in my opinion.

atrink
Contributing Reviewer
July 17th 2009



2809 Comments


just got this cd.... and it annoys me

Calc
April 7th 2013



12037 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this album lightly taps ass with its pinky toe...

Digging: Kashiwa Daisuke - April. #02



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