After a start playing fairly ordinary pop-punk on their debut and an encouraging sense of experimentation on its follow-up, Oakland quartet the Matches don't seem to know exactly what they're doing on their third album. On the one hand, many songs draw inspiration not only from old-fashioned slickly commercial AOR hard rock (the fist-pumping roots of "Their City" and "We Are One" lead back to Bon Jovi) but also from current mainstream Top 40 paradigms. No kidding: the bouncy singsong pop of first single "Wake the Sun" could, with only the barest minimum of alteration in production style and arrangement, potentially be a chart-topping single for someone like Natasha Bedingfield or Jordin Sparks. Elsewhere, anthemic opener "AM Tilts," "Point Me Toward the Morning," and "Future Tense" are by the numbers commercial alt-rock sure to appeal to the style's core demographic. But as if in direct opposition to the rest of the album's grab for the brass ring, big chunks of A Band in Hope are almost shockingly unexpected, verging at times on just plain weird. The ballad "Darkness Rising," with its arrangement of solo grand piano and ornate, overdubbed close harmonies exploding into a bizarre martial kick-step climax, sounds like bandleader Shawn Harris has been listening to quite a bit of Queen and/or Andrew Lloyd Webber. Either way, it's kinda freaky, as are the woozy alt-folk psychedelia and deliberately bizarre, hiccuppy vocal affectations of "To Build a Mountain" and the truncated, inconclusive minute-long closer, "Proctor Drive." In this context, the two-minute pop-punk throwaway "Yankee in a Chip Shop," a gleeful Oakland/London culture clash set to the album's simplest and punkiest tune, stands out, in the likely unintentional sense that it's the only song on the album where the Matches don't sound like they're trying way too hard.
|Label:||Epitaph / Ada|
Performance CreditsMatches Primary Artist
Tim Armstrong Vocals
Mike Green Guitar
Ben Kramer Organ
Dean Butterworth Percussion
Shawn Harris Guitar,Piano,Vocals,Wood Box,Metal Objects
Jon Devoto Guitar,Vocals
Matt Whalen Percussion,Drums
Justin San Souci Bass,Electric Bass,Vocals
Emilee Seymour Vocals
Paul MacD Ruxton Vibes
Anton Patzner Violin
Lewis Patzner Cello
Nick Foxer Keyboards
Miles Hurwitz Bowls
John Paulsen Organ,Percussion
Technical CreditsTim Armstrong Producer
Mike Green Producer,Engineer
John Feldmann Producer,Engineer
Justin Lieberman Engineer
Pete Krawiec Engineer
Shawn Harris Artwork,String Arrangements
Willie "Vamp" Samuels Engineer
Jason Walters Engineer
Emilee Seymour Artwork
Paul MacD Ruxton Producer,String Arrangements
Miles Hurwitz Producer,Marbles
Michael Rosen Engineer
John Paulsen Arranger,Producer,Engineer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A Band in Hope based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
The Matches have done it again! Every song is imaginative and original. It might even be my favorite from them, its between & quot a band in hope& quot or & quot e. von dahl killed the locals,& quot which is also a must have!
This is by far the best album I have heard in a long time. It features songs in a variety of styles, from punk "Yankee In A Chip Shop", to acoustic "Clouds Crash", to an opera "Darkness Rising". Though very different from the Matches former albums "which I would also highly recommend", the Matches are going in a great new direction. I would also like to recommend this album to any drummers, as Matt Whalen is an incredible drummer, and his non-traditional drumming style really shines through on this album.
the matches have been one of my favorite bands for a long time, i always liked how their music was so different but so good. After the new album i am truly disapointed. The songs all sound the same and are not original. I do not recomend this album!