The Matches

While this Oakland quartet owes a substantial debt to Cali peers Green Day and blink-182, they've always demonstrated promiscuous tastes. Their second album, 2006's Decomposer, employs nine different producers in forging its eclectic sound. Influences vary widely, from electro-industrial to baroque pop to glam metal and '80s New Wave, all dropped neatly into their punk-pop press for a fresh outcome that still retains their essential character. The stylistic swings keep the album engaging, whether rattling about like angry alt-rockers on "Lazier Than the Furniture" or bidding, "May your organs fail, before your dreams fail you," on the offbeat, drum-loop-driven punk-pop number "Little Maggots." Indeed, they demonstrate such facility with a hook, it'd almost be better to call them a pop band, were it not such a discredited genre. That certainly seems to be the direction in which they're heading with their forthcoming album (due in March), A Band in Hope. Their debut single, "Wake the Sun" — with its synth-driven bounce, ringing bells, and backing harmonies — sounds more like a New Pornographers track than an album on Epitaph.


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