• Charlie Vogelsang

Bleeding Audio (2021) Review

Image of The Matches' singer
Credit: Chelsea Christer

Bleeding Audio connotes a dying song or a dying band, but that’s not true for The Matches. Directed by Chelsea Christer in her first feature length documentary, Bleeding Audio tells the real story of The Matches, their promising career, their break up and their reunion.

It’s an intimate portrait that shows the ugly side of the music business and how tough it actually is, while highlighting the importance of a positive bond within the band. Christer makes an engaging documentary that explores the group, but sees each band member as an individual rather than a simple collective.

Bleeding Audio shows Matt as the organised and intelligent one, Shawn is the loveable rogue who looks like a mixture of Johnny Depp and Adam Ant, John is the sporty and energetic one, and Justin is the happy one that brings everyone together. They each encompass the band as a whole.

Like many documentaries, Bleeding Audio involves interviews with key figures in The Matches’ story. From producers such as Mark Hoppus from Blink-182 to bands such as Biffy Clyro, you get a personalised insight into their journey. Each interviewee becomes a part of The Matches’ world and community. It feels valued and more than just a selection of whoever was available.

The most unique aspect of Bleeding Audio is definitely the use of visuals. The Matches are known as a creative band who created most of their artwork and promotional material, and Christer intelligently utilises their art in the documentary.

Easily the best musical documentary of the year so far, Bleeding Audio is a delightful watch

Christer also uses a mixture of archive footage, artistic graphics, interviews and fresh footage to create something wholly exceptional and one-of-a-kind. These visuals are underpinned by original songs from the band to add a final, delightfully polished touch.

Bleeding Audio feels like a love letter to The Matches and the whole community, but it’s also so much more than that. This documentary shows the intense reality of the music industry and how it completely changed with online sites such as Napster.

Each member of the band is incredibly human, hard-working and passionate. They decided to be a band on their own terms instead of rushing to sell out, and it made them a rare find - and a perfect subject for a deep-dive documentary.

Christer creates something that is an essential watch for any music fan. It doesn’t matter if you like rock or pop, Bleeding Audio takes you through an underdog story in which the humble band finally get the justice they deserve.

Easily the best musical documentary of the past year, Bleeding Audio is a delightful watch for everyone - not just the die-hard fans of The Matches.