A Band In Hope Review

artist: Matches date: 03/21/2008 category: compact discs
Matches: A Band In Hope
Release Date: Mar 18, 2008
Label: Epitaph
Genres: Indie-Pop
Number Of Tracks: 14
The indie-pop rock group returns with another innovative album featuring catchy riffs, clever lyrics, and creative musical ideas.
 Sound: 9.5
 Lyrics: 8.5
 Overall Impression: 9.5
 Overall rating:
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reviews (2) 11 comments vote for this album:
overall: 9.3
A Band In Hope Reviewed by: UG Team, on march 21, 2008
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: The Matches are known for the creativity of their musical compositions. They have really innovative ideas as far as their music is concerned. Their debut, E. Von Dahl Killed The Locals, was a normal pop-rock album with catchy riffs and clever lyrics. The band released their sophomore release, Decomposer, in 2006. It was a different approach for the band, keeping their old sound on some tracks but using a more serious, honest sound on others. The album also took a completely different approach as far as production went. The album was produced track by track by nine different producers. Each track had a different producer. The band's new works, titled A Band In Hope, is innovative, but can it truly be compared to Decomposer? Originally planned to be the sister album to Decomposer, the album's concept took a drastic turn as Decomposer received little to no reception and poor album sales. The album's turn could truly be a turn for the better for the band. The album begins with AM Tilts, a simple, catchy introduction to the album. This song welcomes you to the album the way that any opening track should. It is generally a slower, less punk sounding song, but that is quickly contradicted as soon as the song ends. The band suddenly picks up into a punk rock sound that quickly builds up to the next track, Their City. The song combines 80's keyboard and vocal progression with the band's signature sound. The song has a great sound, including the guitar solo that features quick note progressions and traditional guitar slides. After the track closes, a new lighter guitar riff opens to Wake The Sun. The song is pleasant and plays smoothly. It almost reminds you of some of the bands influences, such as David Bowie and The Who. The album then continues to the darker piano/vocal duet Darkness Rising. The track features the deeper vocal scales of singer Shaun Harris along side a piano. The song flows beautifully and takes heavy inspiration from the works of Queen. The song takes a drastic turn suddenly into a combination of the chorus of vocals from Bohemian Rhapsody and traditional show tunes. Though the combo may seem somewhat strange, it actually gives you shivers to hear the final product of it. The song closes again with Harris' solo vocals and leads into To Build A Mountain. The song starts with a simple note progression on guitar as Harris sings alongside. The combination of vocals and guitar really make the song what it is, using very little percussion sound but rather Harris making the sounds himself with his voice. The creative approach to the track really shows a side of the band that you wish that you would see more often from them. The next song, We Are One, starts out with two acoustic guitars and Harris randomly shouting with the rest of the guitar riff. It builds up to add the drum mimicking the guitars, and then one of the guitars becomes electric to play a somewhat complicated riff. The song itself shows the band's ability to use their instrumentals to their advantage. They use an assortment of different volumes, sounds, and rhythms that accompany the very basic lyrics. The song leads into the more traditional sound of the band in Point Me Toward The Morning. The track revisits the band's sound from their debut album that they really don't show off until this moment in their current album. The song combines pop-punk-rock riffs with indie-like vocal styling and rhythm. The song ends with a basic pop-rock guitar solo and leads into From 24C. Another dark sounding track, the song starts with an electronic sound accompanied by the vocals of Harris and an almost silent guitar. The song sounds like something you might get from a band like Nine Inch Nails. The only thing about this track that I like is the lyrics hidden in the electronic sound. The next track, Clouds Crash, starts as an acoustic guitar accompanied by the powerful vocals of Harris. The overall tone of the track is warm and welcoming. The guitar is accompanied by a violin in some parts of the song, truly adding to the overall tone. The next track, Between Halloweens, is similar to Point Me Toward The Morning, but it revisits that Queen sound I mentioned earlier. A chorus of vocals sounds almost exactly like that of Bohemian Rhapsody. It is only for mere seconds, but the band can show their influences through their music pretty well. The next song, If I Were You, is a comedic approach to love and falling for a person. The song reminds me of a faster version of Wake The Sun. The song has an upbeat tempo that changes a few times to a slowed down tempo, only to pick back up. The track leads into Future Tense, a look at well the future. The band's sound reflects an alternative rock sound. It could be easily released as a single and probably get some alternative radio play. The next song, Yankee In A Chip Shop, is a combination of the band's traditional sound and a sort of mainstream sound. The first true single off the album should be a good push for the band as it showcases the band's overall qualities that really show off what they stand for. The upbeat tempo and rollicking indie riffs really add to the sound and make the song what it is. The final track, Proctor Rd., is short and to the point. It starts by sounding dark, but it picks up to a more hope sounding tone. The minute and 11 seconds that the track lasts for really sums up the album and leads you to believe that the band has big things ahead for them. The album as a whole has an amazing sound that all fans of indie-rock will enjoy, but it truly takes a good listen to really pick out what this band represents as a whole. // 9

Lyrics: The band is known for its poetic lyrics that accompany its indie-pop-rock sound. The lyrics are clever, simple, and often comedic. Every dawn gets it's day like/Every frown gets her way like/Every step to the daylight keeps you stumbling on/Every backward blackbird/Sounding out through the rafters/So sure he can be heard/Thinks he bears a ton/So wake up, wake up, to wake the sun. These lyrics from Wake The Sun may be basic, but their general cleverness hidden within shows off some of the band's writing. Another example can be shown in From 24C: Like Adam we are flawed/In the image of our gods/Of our fathers, who never bothered/To consider they were not the only ones. Though a biblical reference is weaved into the words, it shows the band's more comedic look on life. Through the band's lyrics, this album can truly speak the message of darkness, despair, and hope that the band hopes the listener gets out of it. // 9

Overall Impression: As I stated earlier, can this album really live up to its predecessor, Decomposer. The answer is yes, it can. The band thought that Decomposer was the best thing they were going to put out, but after looking at reviews and album sales, the band quickly decided against that. They fought through that despair to write a completely different record that portrays the band's new outlook on music, life, and their careers as musicians. The Matches are showing they are A Band In Hope with this new album, and they can hope for the best out of it, because I believe that this album is the first of many albums that the band is going to release to the world and hopefully impact music forever. This album, stated by singer Shaun Harris to be a pendulum's sway between hope and despair, shows both of those emotions that the band is experiencing effectively. If you really enjoy something new or just the indie-rock genre in general, you should enjoy this album. It really shows both the creativity and innovation that the band is hoping to achieve with their music. // 10

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overall: 9
A Band In Hope Reviewed by: gnpwdrtreason, on march 21, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: The Matches have always been ridiculed for being a pop-punk band in a scene where emotional lyrics and storytelling have been the normal way of things. But no one can claim that they are like anything else, in more ways than one. The effects that are used range from a pop whistle to waves crashing. The actual songs range from sounding like a new wave alternative to a '30s jazz band playing a classic song. You'll find yourself sometimes shocked by how much of a drastic change occurs. // 10

Lyrics: There is almost no bands, none, who can take a song and use only a few lines of lyrics and still make the song work. The song, We are One, has two lines for the entire song, but you find yourself so entranced that you don't notice that little fact. The singer, Shawn Harris, uses his unbeilevable vocal variety to entrance you into just falling in love withe entire CD. As usual the lyrics are strange, sometimes with meaning, other times just for fun, then in a new twist some songs are put in like a musical, two characters conversing with oen another. // 8

Overall Impression: In the end, they're still an alternative band, but this CD may just be new and fresh enough to give them the push into the mainstream music scene and onto bigger and hopefully better things. This is the their third album, and other artists would normally wait this long to acutally do something different, The Matches have done three times, each with substantail succes, trust me, you'll be seeing a lot more of them in the years to come. // 9

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