The Spill Canvas
Let’s clear something up: Formalities is not an album. Sure, with 11 tracks and a near-40-minute running time, it seems to meet all the requirements, but a closer look reveals that only two songs (“As Long As It Takes” and “The Bone”) haven’t already been released. Instead, the majority of the disc has been culled from a pair of pre-album EPs, Realities and Abnormalities, and those cuts appear alongside a few acoustic renditions that seem like little more than tacked-on filler. Because of this, Formalities truly does seem like a formality. Still, the songs are fairly strong: “Our Song” is a hit waiting to happen, boasting a memorable hook and the same bounce and self-referencing choruses found on Counting Crows discs; “Good Graces, Bad Influences,” the sort of rhythmic pop party-starter a newly reunited Matchbox 20 would go ga-ga over; and “The Bone,” an absolutely venomous rocker that finds vocalist Nick Thompson spitting lines like, “I can’t stand your pretentious band/Tell me how do you sleep?/Come on, enlighten me.” There’s some nice diversity among these songs (mostly thanks to the twanged-up “Crash Course” and “As Long As It Takes”), but anyone who cares has probably already had them for months.