Matchbook Romance

For those of you who find the paint-by-numbers approach employed by far too many emo bands to be exceedingly dull, here's some good news: An increasing number of them find it boring, too. Matchbook Romance is a case in point. A quartet from the rock hotbed of Poughkeepsie, New York, the group, led by guitarist/vocalist Andrew Jordan, caught the attention of Epitaph's Brett Gurewitz -- a predictable outcome, since its music didn't stray far from the sonic template of Bad Religion, Gurewitz's veteran collective. The same could be said of Stories and Alibis, Matchbook's 2003 debut full-length. The disc wasn't a disaster, but neither did it challenge the melodic-punk formula. In contrast, Voices, the act's new CD, shows some signs of artistic growth, particularly on "Goody, Like Two Shoes," a seven-minute opus featuring an ambitious arrangement and lyrics that avoid the style's most egregious cliches. If the disc is no masterpiece, at least it suggests that the men of Matchbook Romance, who appear on this bill ahead of the Early November, Chiodos, Amber Pacific and We Are the Fury, are growing weary of using everyone else's palette.


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