Matchbook Romance has always been one of those bands that I’ve always lumped into the emo-pop malaise that erupted a few years ago. Never heard them, didn’t care to hear them, and didn’t think they were capable of anything worth listening to. I still haven’t listened to their earlier works and still probably won’t, but Voices, their latest album on Epitaph, is without a doubt a really stunning piece of work. The eleven tracks are altogether as moody as a year in the Midwest, with dark overtones flushing out every negative image that might be tied into ones’ environment. The artwork really sets the tone, with an abundance of the color black and nefarious claymation imagery. The addition of strings, piano, and organ efficiently placed throughout the album—as well as incredibly strong vocals—show this to definitely be a maturing effort for the band. The strings, for example, could’ve just been thrown in as an attempt by the band to try and appear to be deep or creative, but instead, as on songs such as “Goody, Like Two Shoes” they delicately work their way into the root of the song. While catering to those fans of Alkaline Trio and My Chemical Romance, Matchbook Romance shows a progression towards its rock roots which helps supplant themselves into being a legitimate band and not just a flash in the pan. This may not be up the alley of the typical punk rock fan, but considering how much of the garbage came out of the emo scene a few years ago, this seems really promising, and especially for those of us who appreciate a little variety in our music.