For those of you tired of the paint-by-numbers approach employed by too many emo bands, 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. The same could be said of Stories and Alibis, Matchbook's 2003 debut full-length. The disc wasn't a disaster, but it didn't challenge the melodic-punk formula either. 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 clichés. 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.
Matchbook Romance performs with Rock Kills Kid and Memoranda on Sunday, July 23, at the Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $18 to $20. Call 954-564-1074, or visit www.cultureroom.net.