Matchbook Romance, Camden Underworld

The signs aren't good as headliners Matchbook Romance take to the stage; the crowd is no noticeably larger nor seemingly more interested than for either Jackson or the Holiday Plan before them. However, it takes only a few bars of opener "My Eyes Burn" to realise that this New York quartet aren't in the same division as their support acts. The band's combination of emotionally-driven melodies together with equal helpings of punk and post-hardcore might be exactly the sort of music that the most pretentious of us love to hate, but it undoubtedly resonates with an audience who quickly shift from indifference to transfixion, alongside a sizeable minority happy to yell along with every word. Too many will dismiss bands like Matchbook Romance as pseudo-cheese or (worse) immature, but there's an empathy here few can match, reaching a height when vocalist Andrew Jordan slows things down for delightful ballad "Tiger Lily". It's a sublime performance, and it would take a cold heart not to leave satisfied.

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