Written By: Alex Telfer
Like book stores… and record stores… and Post offices… and independent pubs, rock bands seem to be dying out in the UK these days. There just aren’t many left. And I’m not accepting nominations for the Arctic Monkeys (too pop) or Kasabian (where’s the guitars?). I’m talking about guitar led music with an emphasis on riffs. Who were the last ones? Possibly Reef back in the 90s.
So it was pleasing to listen to the upcoming EP from Liverpool based Matchstickmen which landed on my desk at The Doughnut HQ last week. Their second release, it’s called A Change in Season and is available on the July 30th.
Breaking Down The Six Tracks
Each of the songs showcases a different style of guitar lead music, and the opener ‘Comes In 3s’ kick-starts things with a nice big riff. This is Matchstickmen’s heaviest song and sounds like Karma To Burn or Alice In Chains with some nice dynamics and a big-fist-in-the-air chorus.
‘Distorted Lullaby’ is a more frenetic number with a fuzz infused groovy riff, while ‘Not Knowing’ is almost a power ballad, employing most of this genres tricks with reasonable success. The acoustic driven ‘Lead Balloon’ is the most radio friendly tune and could almost be an R.E.M song. Its honest, introspective lyrics and catchy chorus showcase the band to a broader fan base.
‘Make Mountains’ boasts an opening lick with hints of Dire Straits’ ‘Money for Nothing’! It segues into well used chord progression before ending in the song title chorus that brings to mind ‘Move Any Mountain’ by 90s rave merchants The Shaman. Although toned down by the production, live and unleashed this could be a crowd-pleaser.
Closing is ‘Give Into Me’, a cover written by the King of Pop himself… Rick Astley. Not really. This Michael Jackson classic gets the rock cover treatment, however the Matchstickmen version, albeit competent, is so close to the original that the process is rendered almost pointless.
This four piece aren’t going to change the world but they boast a polished sound with big choruses. At times they perhaps lack a sense of originality and sound like a well-honed cover band. But at peaks there are some anthems in waiting for those about to rock.