Album Review: Matchbox Twenty – North

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

American pop rock band Matchbox Twenty has staged a comeback with North, their first album in 10 years. The young 20-somethings we first met back in the 90’s are now grown men with more life experience and along with that comes added maturity to their music. But how does the album stack up against their previous efforts? Was the wait was worth it?

The sound:

The Matchbox Twenty you knew from before is still there and many of the tracks have their familiar sound. However, there is something that feels a little sugar-coated about the whole thing. Rob Thomas’ vocals are still on the money. Each song with its guitar-driven melodic backdrop and built up big chorus is classic pop rock.

The tracks:

Standout catchy track from the album is the hit single She’s So Mean – traditional Matchbox Twenty with its thumping drumbeat and toe tapping tune (even if the lyrics are somewhat questionable). Opener Parade is also one of the strongest tracks and possibly a little more on par with previous work; though and with it’s building strings and better lyrics compared to the majority of the album, you get the feeling that perhaps this would have been a good track to release and connect with their previous audience.

Put Your Hands Up feels like it’s supposed to be the core anthem from North, but it doesn’t quite get there and feels like a diversion from their usual style, as does Like Sugar. Our Song has a catchy chorus and sounds like a great sing-a-long song for summer.

The verdict:

Pretty good going given they’ve had a decade out of the music scene and can still make their music relevant! Classic catchy pop rock, if a little sugar-coated at times. Unfortunately, North has generally received pretty mediocre reviews, however, Matchbox Twenty fans likely won’t be disappointed.

Sometimes it’s best to stick to the sound you’re good at – especially when you’re as iconic as Matchbox Twenty – and there are a few too many corny tracks that sound like they’ve been written just to try and bring the band into 2012 by being a lot more pop and a little less rock. It’ll be interesting to see if this is a one-off album or whether this is the beginning of a planned out comeback.

For more info on Matchbox Twenty, visit their site at matchboxtwenty.com.

Photo / Supplied

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