The Matches - E. Von Dahl Killed The Locals
By Lance Conzett
Hey, look, it's another band of kids playing pop punk! But, what's this? Its actual pop-punk and not a dime-a-dozen pop song camouflaged with hair dye and faux-hawks? They sing about things other than how they're always being beaten down by those evil, evil jocks and popular kids? What a novel idea. The Matches literally came out of nowhere, releasing their debut album on their own in February, 2003 after tireless efforts to revitalize the all ages scene in Oakland. Ten months and 4500 albums sold later, Epitaph picked up E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals, gave it a polish the help of producer Joe Barresi---much like their treatment of Motion City Soundtrack's I Am the Movie---and added two brand new songs. If a band can sell 4500 copies of their debut album out of the back of their cars, they must be doing something right.
It's nice to find a catchy little pop-punk album in the mix sometimes. The Matches' E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals is a fun record that doesn't concern itself with complex social issues or the state of international politics. Lyrically, the album is typical pop-punk, there's the song about being in love with a punk girl, there's a song about wanting to get out, a song about the desire to be better than the average local band---general pop-punk fare. The first couple of tracks instilled a feeling of dismay that another lame pop-punk quartet had joined the fray to ride the watered-down punk coattails of Sum 41. But, after the slump, the album jumps from hook to hook and manages to not get snagged, avoiding the dreaded momentum drag that knocks so many pop-punk albums on their asses. Even the closing acoustic tune, "Scratched Out (Track 11)," slows things down but still remains fairly catchy. In the middle of it all are two brand new tracks that weren't on the previous independent release, "More Than Local Boys" and "Borderline Creep," which do a very good job of giving the album the kick start it needed to distance itself from the aforementioned initial dread. By the end of the album, I was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable the experience was.
E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals takes a couple tracks to get up to speed, but it pays off by the end of the album. As much as some would like to live in the past with their collections of Dead Kennedys and Minor Threat albums, we have to realize that the young blood in the scene can help. Based on their "Commo Promos" and advancements for not only their music but the scene itself, the Matches are destined to only progress forward. No, this isn't revolutionary music, but it is a fun little pop-punk album with catchy hooks and sweet lyrics and that's what really matters. It's bound to leave you with a smile on your face and warmth in the cockles of your heart.