No.10 – Matchbox 20 – Yourself or Someone Like You – 4/5
Largely acoustic and clean guitars means this falls squarely in the slow rock side of the genre. Avoiding the normal trap of sounding whiny and angsty, this is a far more mature take on the depressive side of love. The atmosphere produced is thin and delicate, done in a simple manner but the minimalist approach to their sound works in their favour to create a vision of raw emotion.
The guitars rely heavily on chords to provide a backing, but don’t mistake them for another case of a musician who can’t play his instrument. He won’t go down in history as a great guitar player, but he knows how to wield his instrument in an effective manner. With plenty of little fills here and there, and even the odd solo (“Long Day” for example) serving to keep the backing interesting, combined with a wide variety of chords he really breaks the mould of stereotypical 3-chord wonders.
The vocals however are easily the centrepiece, produced in such a way that he sounds clean, whilst retaining a touch of rasp, they’re both fairly unique and provide that sense of realism that makes the atmosphere all the more intense. Drawing from personal experiences, he sings about events personal to him, and it shows. This is a far cry from those cookie cutter bands they were pigeon-holed into, this is emotional, but also soulful and down to earth. And it’s with lyrics such as:
“Its sitting by the overcoat
The second shelf, the note she wrote
That I cant bring myself to throw away” – Long Day
You simply can’t help but be drawn in, poignant and blunt, what they lack in depth they more than make up for in their raw honesty. This is not the most original sound, nor are they the most technically able musicians. This is a rare case of soft rock that presents itself as believable, realistic and honest without sounding ansgty. There are no naïve love songs, or false ideals of grandeur like how love is often portrayed in films, this is a mature emotion, poetically delivered in music format.
Highlights: Long Day, Push, Busted
By T Bawden