My last college roommate was quite the hefty fellow. He drove a beat up old Dodge truck (which he named “The Beast”), ate like one who would and loved the midnight meals and those big plate dinners. He was, what some might call, a connoisseur of not-so-fine dining, and the Americanized Mexican fast food chain was undoubtedly a favored destination spot. The only place on earth that can create a multi-itemed menu from about three ingredients does certainly have its appeal, but the drawbacks can often leave a very sour feeling in one’s stomach.

This one trip was quite the anomaly; we had received our order and like so many times before, he asked for a bagful of extra “hot sauce” from the seemingly jaded cashier. Perhaps it was from the unconceivable excitement of working at fast food taco (or the fact that it was Bakersfield), but this wily cashier refused;

“Sorry sir, we can’t give you any extra hot sauce.”

Now there a few things you don’t do to a large hungry man – show him where your kitchen is and deny his right to extra hot sauce. What proceeded was confusion, anger and a conversation not suitable for young, tender ears. My unfortunate friend is perhaps the only person to have ever caused such commotion at a fast food place while not robbing the joint. In the end, thanks to manager intervention, he did score his extra hot sauce, but was informed that new policy states they will no longer be handing out ‘free’ extra sauce but in the future, doling it out for an added sum.

As if it was some act of divine beings, all the trouble that he went through, all the bickering, the anger, the frustration; it all resulted in one thing – diarrhea.

And for all the unique artists, stirring records and affecting changes to society that Epitaph Records have been involved with over the course of so many years, it is dumbfounding that they release this mechanical, overbearing, pseudo-emotion filled mess of audio diarrhea. On a staple diet of punk-like guitar chugging, heartbroken adages and rhythmic anonymity; Matchbook Romance’s West For Wishing is an unfortunate trek into the myriad world of emotive nondescript music. Is this Finch? Is this Taking Back Sunday? Yes – it reeks of wilting familiarity – another faceless lump in the wretched “new emo/punk” pestilence.

Their single “The Greatest Fall (Of All Time)” (ironically enough) and the other four tracks have been put through extensive knob turning, but don’t let the slick production and sound quality fool you. If someone happens to say, “Hey, Matchbook Romance are going places!” – You’d better believe them; they’re heading out of Epitaph’s posterior and straight into the toilet bowl.

(Epitaph Records)

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