February 16, 2001

Not So Good

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Move over Matchbox 20. Step aside Bush. Out of the way Wallflowers. There is a new generic modern rock group in the ‘hood and their name is the Matthew Good Band.

The Vancouver quartet recently released their fourth album, Beautiful Midnight, on Atlantic Records. Although they’ve been around since the mid-90’s, their popularity remains largely confined to their native land. They joined the ranks of Canadian rockers Barenaked Ladies and the Tragically Hip (who ever said nothing good came out of Canada?), yet their latest album does nothing to distinguish them from either band.

At first glance, Beautiful Midnight looks pretty badass, with its streaks of white lightning across the front cover and “Parental Advisory” label calling out to rebellious teenagers everywhere. And the guy in the gorilla mask and “Here Comes Trouble” t-shirt might seem more than a bit frightening. Once the tunes start pumping, however, there is a really different feel.

The album starts out with “Giant,” a medium-paced, typical rock song with fewer chords than I have fingers on one hand. With the exception of a few slower, more rock ballad-type tracks such as “Strange Days” and “Jenni’s Song,” telling the difference between each song on Beautiful Midnight proves to be a difficult task. Each song seems to blur together into one large mass of overplayed guitar riffs and cheesy, uninspired lyrics such as “My devil’s on rollerskates, down at the roller rink, picking up chicks for me.” After a song like “Hello Time Bomb,” these guys might need that bit of extra help getting some chicks themselves.

I’ve got to hand it to Good and his boys, though; they can certainly put together an album chock full of catchy songs that will keep you humming for hours.

Beautiful Midnight seems to display a bit of an identity crisis as the band continually cross back and forth over the fine line between Marilyn Manson and Third Eye Blind. They can’t seem to decide whether they are anger-driven hard rockers or a bunch of clean-cut young gentlemen with Luke Perry-style haircuts and collared shirts.

Fortunately, Matthew Good Band hasn’t exactly hit it big in the States quite yet. America has more than enough catchy rock bands imitating each other in competition for radio airplay. We’re not missing much by skipping out on one more.

As the band themselves warn the listener upon opening up the case to Beautiful Midnight, “there are some things better said with the lights out.” I’ll offer you my own words of advice: “there are some things better kept in Canada,” if you catch my drift.

Archived article by Lauren Haber