I‘m starting this off with an assumption (and you know what they say about assuming things), which might not be the smartest thing to do, but I’m willing to bet that the majority of the population has never heard of a little band from Oakland called The Matches.
Hey, I probably would have never discovered them if it hadn’t been for my high school best friend, Chase. Musically speaking, I have a lot to thank her for.
Lately I’ve been exploring artists who garner a strong opinion, good or bad, but every time I re-discover The Matches (today, for instance), I just want more people to know they exist.
Alternative music in the early to mid-2000s blew up thanks to groups like Green Day (American Idiot, anybody?), Fall Out Boy (aw, the first band I was ever obsessed with), and Panic! at the Disco (which for some stupid reason was sans exclamation point for a little while), and rightly so.
They’re all awesome in their own way.
The Matches, sadly got lost in the sauce.
All of these bands can technically speaking be labeled as “pop punk”, according to their Wikipedia pages at least, though some are certainly more “punk” than others. I’m not exactly sure if Panic! has ever been “pop punk”, but for the sake of this article we’ll go with it.
The scene was saturated to say the least, and somehow a true pop punk band, The Matches, sadly got lost in the sauce.
Punk for dummies
I’ve always wanted to like straight up punk music – The Ramones, The Misfits, The Sex Pistols, you know who I’m talking about – and I wouldn’t say that I dislike them (perhaps someday my opinion will sway), but to be honest their music intimidates me a little bit.
Hell, Marilyn Manson scared the shit out of me until a little while ago, so I’d say anything is possible.
But The Matches made the concept of punk attractive and accessible to me without even knowing it.
“May your organs fail before your dreams fail you”
I think the above is my all-time favorite lyric from the band, it’s so damn poetic.
While I admire the raw and unabashed energy that seeps from punk, I admire even more the so-called punk that takes dark and depressing things and turns them into catchy mantras that could easily be turned into tattoos (if my last tattoo wasn’t a quote, I might consider getting that line next).
Though the music of The Matches is more poetic and “out there” than the stylings of the aforementioned punk bands, there’s no denying that the punk is in there. I hate running, but their driving and onward instrumentals are enough to get even my ass in gear.
I admire even more the so-called punk that takes dark and depressing things and turns them into catchy mantras…
At the end of the metaphorical day, The Matches are a severely underrated group that more people should give a listen to.
Unfortunately, the band has been dismantled since 2009 (save for a few reunion tours and the like), but there are three fantastic albums out there to be enjoyed right now! In particular, the sophomore slump was a foreign concept for them, as their second album, Decomposer, is both memorable and morbid (in a nice way?).
The Matches may have been eclipsed by bigger name bands during the alt-renaissance of the 2000s, but there’s no denying that their music is true to its roots ’til the very end.