The implosion of the Civil Wars has left a gap in the market for a passionate country duo with songs that inhabit that middle ground between gritty Americana and Nashville schmaltz. Striking Matches have therefore come along at the right moment and produced an album in "Nothing but the silence" could get dizzy with the amount of times it goes around your turnable. The band members are Justin Davis and Sarah Zimmerman both blessed with fine voices plus the ability to strum a mean guitar. Add to this the presence of one of the worlds hottest producers in T Bone Burnett and the omens for success are large. The duo have already had a number of their songs featured on the soundtrack to the TV series "Nashville" and perhaps more than the Civl Wars they have an harder rock edge derived from their love of sixties greats like the Beatles and Cream.
The album starts in fine fettle with the infectious country ballad "Trouble is as trouble does" and is followed by the sultry "Make a liar out of me". The latter is a nice example of the new Nashville sounds mixing rock, soul and country and resonates deeply. Others like the the hugely commercial single "Hanging on a lie" sees Zimmerman take the lead and potentially deliver a huge country hit. Granted "When the right one comes along" is close to the ethos of the Civil Wars but it is a gorgeous song. Things slow even further for the melancholy ballad “Like Lovers,” which showcases the duo's strengths as there vocals perfectly compliment and work well in unison. Perhaps the track where are the right forces merge is the pop rock of "Missing you tonight" a splendid track with a nice crunchy guitar backdrop.
"Nothing but the silence" breaks no original ground but it does confirm the arrival of a duo destined to be at the forefront of the new Nashville sound. Check out videos of Davis and Zimmerman in concert and they come across with authenticity and passion. As a result you suspect that an appearance on the Jools Holland show could tip these unknowns into major players in the UK and set the charts "ablaze".
Review by Red on Black