It’s been five years since Matchbox Twenty released “Exile on Mainstream” and they have made up for their leave of absence, with the release of their latest album, “North.” Matchbox Twenty lands back onto the scene with songs that are a mix of rock and pop and, for the most part, succeeds beautifully.
One thing “North” is not lacking is love songs. More than half of the album involves dealing with relationships. “Our Song,” one of the more optimistic ones, certainly shines with lead singer Rob Thomas’ soulful vocals. Drumming from Paul Doucette is omnipresent, giving a strong, pop base to the more cheerful lyrics to stand among the crowd of depressing love songs.
“English Town” opens with ominous piano chords and anguished vocals, which cast a distinct and sinister sound to the song. The album, however, continues with upbeat tracks like “Radio,” with a ’50s-style guitar sound mixed with more modern drumming and singing. Completing this retro sound, are some loud and powerful brass instruments interlaced with the chorus.
The album does undergo some sour points though. “Like Sugar” is an example: Smooth and relaxed guitar strums, drumbeats and singing clash with its too-simple lyrics.
“North” is a finely crafted album that was well worth the time Matchbox Twenty spent. Even if some of the songs’ vast ranges of styles sound bizarre at times, listeners will be able to find a track or two to fit their fancy.
Overall rating: 3 ½ stars
Matchbox Twenty released their sixth studio album, ‘North,’ after five years.