Matchbox Twenty - North
Last time we heard from Florida boys Matchbox Twenty was 2007's greatest hits package Exile On Mainstream and they return to the fold, not so much with a bang as a hearty pat on the back. North has an eager-to-please feel to it and while it may expose them to a wider audience, it all sounds a bit half-hearted and lukewarm.
Opener 'Parade' is a beaut, with a luscious radio-friendly sound, but the cutesy lyrics and bubblegum melody of follow-up 'She's So Mean' fails to hit home. The rest of the 15-strong track list follows a similar hit and miss pattern: the punchy energy of 'Our Song' is endearing and the simple prettiness of 'I Will' results in the perfect slow-dance song, yet the bland 'Sleeping At The Wheel' and angst-by-numbers 'The Way' muddle things up. All in all, North is an above average indie-pop record with Matchbox Twenty proudly displaying their strengths as well as laying bare their weaknesses. Like a decent yet wordy novel, you may have to skip over a few chapters in order to reach the happy ending.