March 27, 2008

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The Matches, A Band in Hope
Epitaph Records, March 18
After trying mall-punk and Kaiser Chiefs-ness on for size, The Matches had nothing left to lose, but instead of trying too hard, they decided to have a little fun and try less, resulting in their accidentally hitting paydirt. It’s very likely that one or two of these songs will end up on the next background loop at your local Fridays, the movie theater lobby, “real alternative radio!” and other hipness purgatories. You’ll identify this new Matches through their clever use of almost-likenesses: somewhere between a less-comic Flaming Lips, a less-metal System of a Down and a less-stuffy Fixx on their vocal end, they’ve glued unquestionably sellable garage-pop to semi-progressive, a stunt that’ll probably constitute a royal sell-out and kiss-off to fans of their early also-ran punk garbage, but who cares about them anyway. A lot to like here – “Wake the Sun,” an odd mush of Eddie van Halen finger plucks, Coldplay rock-out and Toad the Wet Sprocket danceability, could be a big one on radio. AEric W. Saeger