I realized after writing last year’s review of the Matches’ sophomore effort, Decomposer, that I had done so a bit prematurely. In that review, I essentially wrote that the band sacrificed catchiness in order to take a more experimental, artsy approach to their music. After listening to Decomposer several more times, I realized that the album was a hell of a lot more catchy than I had said it was. So this time around, I wanted to make sure I carefully listened to the band’s latest album, A Band In Hope, and not make any mistakes when it came to writing a review for it.
After listening to A Band In Hope, it’s obvious that the band has continued to take an experimental approach to their music. Each track is followed by one with a completely different style than its predecessor, making for quite a unique listen. This is both good and bad – the majority of the tracks are fantastic on their own, but if you’re looking for an album to listen to when you’re in a certain mood, then you’re out of luck. For example, the third track, “Wake the Sun,” is probably the catchiest song I’ve listened to all year – there’s something refreshing and uplifting about the light-hearted guitar and lyrics that really makes it feel like the sun is rising right in front of you when you listen to this song. But then this is followed by “Darkness Rising,” a track that begins with a soft piano intro but then bursts into what could be music from a scene in a musical or opera. Although the song is fine in itself, it crushes whatever mood you were in after listening to the previous track. So some people may find this to be a problem, while others will put is aside and appreciate the band for its continued creativity.
Another thing to notice is that there really isn’t any hint of pop-punk on this album – A Band In Hope is more of a straight-up rock album. And although it goes in different musical directions, it’s amazing to see how the band’s sound has developed merely two albums after releasing their pop-punk debut, E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals. Despite the band’s change in sound, I’m sure A Band In Hope will please all fans and perhaps get some more people hooked onto their truly unique style. Unfortunately, I don’t think this album will be enough to launch them into the mainstream. Nevertheless, I’d say this is their strongest effort yet and it’s definitely a sign of good things to come.