Epitaph - 2003 - 46 minutes

Since first releasing Bad Religion's young, loud and snotty 'How Could Hell Be Any Worse?' in 1981, legendary imprint Epitaph has mapped punk sounds from all over the globe. Up to now, however, emo has been uncharted territory.

And so fate found label boss and Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz trawling the net for good unsigned outfits, and finding this New York state band - then called The Getaway - who'd rung every possible opportunity out of the DIY ethic via their website. Ah, romance.

Their debut album is chiefly concerned with proving the theory that a heart that hurts is a heart that works and the emotional disasters fly in quick succession. The playing and harmonies are faultless, but Matchbook Romance need to put the their hooks in listeners the way they've been put into them. 'Tiger Lily' shows just how much potential they have - and it's the quietest song on this album.

Finding the right someone is important, a sound you can call your own should be right at the top of the list too. In both cases time is on their side.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Your Stories, My Alibis - Playing for Keeps - Promise - Lovers & Liars - Tiger Lily - Shadows Like Statues - My Eyes Burn - She'll Never Understand - If All Else Fails - Stay Tonight - The Greatest Fall of All Time