After the release of his debut as Onelinedrawing, Jonah Matranga toured relentlessly with bombastic groups including Thursday, Coheed & Cambria, and the Weakerthans -- and on The Volunteers, it shows. No longer are the arrangements dominated by hush vocals and spare instrumentation. The Volunteers is gifted with smashing anthems like "We Had a Deal" (which could be Ryan Adams-penned). But Matranga doesn't completely abandon the original template, and the echoey and sparse bits create a now familiar but still effective loud/soft dynamic that is unstoppable. Even when the songwriting is odd (the start-stop "Over It"), it's because Matranga is masterfully constructing a setup to transition into pure pop grandiosity. Onelinedrawing, in general, may be a bit too saccharine for some listeners, and it lacks the classic power pop levity of a Brendan Benson or Weakerthans, but The Volunteers is a wildly inventive record that can stand tall beside earnest peers like Saves the Day's In Reverie.
The Volunteers Review
by Charles Spano