Matchbook Romance

Wednesday, July 26, at Verizon Wireless Theater, 520 Texas, 713-230-1600

For those of you who find the paint-by-numbers approach employed by far too many emo bands to be exceedingly dull, here's some good news: An increasing number of them find it boring, too. Matchbook Romance is a case in point. A quartet from the rock hotbed of Poughkeepsie, New York, the group, led by guitarist/vocalist Andrew Jordan, caught the attention of Epitaph's Brett Gurewitz -- a predictable outcome, since its music didn't stray far from the sonic template of Bad Religion, Gurewitz's veteran collective. Stories and Alibis, Matchbook's 2003 debut full-length, wasn't a disaster, but neither did it challenge the melodic-punk formula. In contrast, Voices, the act's new CD, shows some signs of artistic growth, particularly on "Goody, Like Two Shoes," a seven-minute opus featuring an ambitious arrangement and lyrics that avoid the style's most egregious clich├ęs. If the disc is no masterpiece, at least it suggests that the men of Matchbook Romance are growing weary of using everyone else's palette.

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