A certain 1999 sci-fi action movie may own the pop-culture designation, but production team the Matrix are, in music-industry circles, pretty famous in their own right — even if their little band experiment with one Ms. Katy Perry on vocals (see clipbelow) never took off. In the early aughts, Scott Spock, Lauren Christy, and Graham Edward made their name writing and/or producing hits for the likes of Shakira (“Don’t Bother”), Avril Lavigne (“Sk8er Boi,” “Complicated”), and Jason Mraz (“The Remedy (I Won’t Worry)”). Then, a few years ago, the trio decided to try their own Garbage route, pairing their knob-twiddling, instrument-playing abilities with the vocal talents of a foxy, ready-for-her-closeup frontwoman. Their Shirley Manson? A young unknown named Katy Perry. As a band, they recorded an entire album, shot music videos, and began to grease the wheels of the music-press machine. And then, weeks before the disc was set for release in 2004, the project was abruptly aborted.

Four-plus years later, Perry is a ginormous, girl-kissing, boy-missing star, much more hot than cold, and the Matrix are…not so busy. Hence the Jan. 27 appearance of that long-lost album on iTunes, backed by the threesome’s own Let’s Hear It Records label. The material’s not entirely unknown — bits have been floating in the blogosphere since the album’s inception. But page views were negligible, to say the least, before Katy tasted that Cherry Chapstick. Watch below and judge for yourself. Does the artistic effort that Spock, Christy and Edward put into the album justify its release, or are they merely opportunivores piggybacking on Perry’s new-found fame?