If you asked me six months ago what I thought of pop-punk, I would have said that all bands in that specific genre sucked, and that they all write their records to try and appeal to the mainstream. This is true for some bands, but in the last couple of months I’ve come to realize how wrong I have been in my thinking. I’ve grown to let go of such pre-mature thoughts, and listen to any band, while being open to whether, or not they are good. Well, when I heard Matchbook Romance’s second single, My Eyes Burn
, I knew that I had to own their album, “Stories and Alibis". After purchasing it, I thought the whole album was drearily boring at first, but then I knew I needed to be more accepting, and not so critical of something. Eventually, the album grew on me, and I actually started to take quite a fancy the band. Most of the songs were catchy, and had some nice, although simple, instrumentation to them.
Well, here we are a couple years later after the release of “Stories and Alibis". I was excited, as well as curious what the new album, “Voices", would sound like, and I must admit, I was once again disappointed, but after a few more listens, the album grew on me. About every song on “Stories and Alibis" was catchy, and upbeat. The guitar playing was simple, and the signing was too. Here on “Voices", that completely changes. There is literally no chorus on most of the songs, and the band actually depends on musical quality to attract the listener. That quality however, isn’t very technical, but is a definite improvement over the bands previous album. The use of soloing is even present in the single, Monsters
, which is probably the best choice of being a first single because it’s one of the few catchy songs, but it is also clearly darker than most of Matchbook Romance’s other workings.
Andrew Jordan’s singing has improved, even though it is less catchy, and is somewhat like the lead singer of 30 Seconds To Mars. He has more control over his voice for the whole album, particularly on songs such as What A Sight
, and You Can Run, But We’ll Find You
. To end “Voices", there are two consecutive ballads. The first is called Wish You Were Hear
, and the other is an acoustic, hidden track. Both are simple, but Andrew’s singing is attractive, and the nice, quiet (acoustic) guitar is soothing. The two songs are a truly proper way to end “Voices". The largest surprise of all is that Matchbook Romance attempted to write an epic, seven-minute song called Goody, Like Two Shoes
. The end result is mixed. The song is solid, but fails to differentiate from the rest of “Voices". The middle of the song has a “pop-punk breakdown", and is followed with the use of a violin. It is certainly interesting at times, but just doesn’t truly grab my attention.
The whole sound of “Voices" is somewhat depressing. It would appear that Matchbook Romance went for more something of a gothic, pop-punk feel for the record, and ended with It’s nice to see that there isn’t as much of a repetitive feel on here as there was for “Stories and Alibis". It’s also cool to see that the album is actually a whole hour long too. The only true bad thing about “Voices" is that there are no real standout tracks. Most songs are only slightly above average even with the slight improvement in the guitar playing, but the guitar does stand out with fast, and hooky playing on many songs, including, Surrender
, and My Mannequin Can Dance
. Compared to “Stories and Alibis" this is a letdown, but as a whole, uninfluenced by the bands other work, this still is a good album, and is worth it to check out, if only to see that the band is at least trying to be original.
+ The band’s attempt to be slightly unique is to be admired.
+ The guitar playing has advanced.
+ “Voices" is not as repetitive as “Stories and Alibis"…
- …but repetitiveness is still there.
- There are some great songs on here, but nothing close to being of superb quality.
- Not too many songs would work as singles, therefore not guaranteeing commercial success.
: Because of a cool guitar solo, and vocal styling, this single should definitely be checked out.
: It is probably my favorite song for the fast paced, punk guitar playing, and catchy singing.
Goody, Like Two Shoes
: Props to the band for stepping outside the “pop-punk box" and writing a seven-minute song,
Kripes’ gives Matchbook Romance’s, “Voices", a conditional recommendation.
“Was it all you hoped it would be?"-You Can Run, But We'll Find You
Not really, but the end result is still acceptable.