The West for Wishing EP is Matchbook Romance's debut for Epitaph, who signed the upstate New York band after hearing their demo online. The newfound exposure also led to a name change -- Matchbook Romance used to be known as the Getaway, but Epitaph put the kibosh on that moniker, as it was already in use. Matchbook Romance's debut places the band at a crossroads. Vocalists/guitarists Andrew Jordan and Judas Depaolo aren't as cry baby-ish as most emo in the wake of the genre's popular breakthrough. But neither is the racket they and Ryan Kienle (bass) and Aaron Stern (drums) create angry or tough enough to be hardcore. Producer/mixer (and Epitaph owner/Bad Religion frontman) Brett Gurewitz has groomed tracks like "14 Balloons" and "Farewell to Friends" to feature both the plaintive and the powerful. Lyrics like "The stars, they lay across the sky perfectly/It's our last night together" are finger-down-throat gagworthy, but Stern's muscular percussion and the spiraling, crashing guitars definitely aren't. This EP is a teaser for an eventual Epitaph full-length that should better align Matchbook Romance's stage-burning musical chops with its sappy songwriting.
AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus