The Matches, Escape the Fate, I Am Ghost, The Higher Road Ready

Finding quality among the seemingly endless parade of faceless emo bands parading their oh-so-hip bangs and pronounced use of eyeliner is not an easy task. Oakland's The Matches display, for better and worse, the continued influence of Green Day on today's poppy punksters (or would that be punky popsters?). Decomposer, the band's sophomore effort, released late last year, was, unexpectedly, a move away from the simplistic, sanitized rebellion and mopey melodrama championed by the likes of My Chemical Romance and Motion City Soundtrack. Employing no fewer than nine producers (including punk godfathers Tim Armstrong and Mark Hoppus), the new cuts (such as the playfully warped "Papercut Skin") show a band willing to take chances with the standard formula and create music that actually moves beyond the trivialities and clichés of teenage romance and bleak assessments of the future. Easily the headiest troupe on this bloated bill, the Matches should prove worth the wait for those with a strong stomach for angst and alienation.


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