Matchbook Romance gets 4 stars from

Not enough has been said about Matchbook Romance lately. Their EP, West of Wishing, recently released on Epitaph is easily one of the top EPs of 2003. They recorded this album behind producer Brett Gurewitz. You might recognize his name from a little punk band called Bad Religion.

Everything on this album is fine tuned, especially for an EP. The main vocals are consistent and very melodic in nature. These vocals are backed by intense screaming and sometimes, harmonic accompaniment. The lyrics only further manage to support its musical counterpart. Each song is a unique experience into the world of emocore. The only complaint you will find yourself scrounging up is that 14 balloons comes in just over a minute and you will be wishing it was longer. Matchbook Romance hits you hard from the start and is relentless in its musical onslaught of emotional designs and creativity molded into a 5 track debut that is remarkable.

The guitar work ranges from pop-punk to smaller solos. There are moments of slow progression and others of intense aggression. Expect to have everything you want in an emo-core band. The transitions are seamless and you will be singing along in no time. This New York outfit has put together an incredible Epitaph debut. For those of you who remember them as "The Getaway," pretend you never heard that. This EP is so well polished you will forget those other songs ever existed. This is an aural experience that begs the listener to ask, "When are we gonna get a full-length, fellas?"

Rating: ****

Doug Lane
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