More Than You Think You Are could have just as easily been called If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It. Having made a career out of blending accessible modern rock with arena-style pop and wrapping it up in a catchy, post-grunge package, Matchbox Twenty applies the same tried and true formula to their third major release. Though the guitar riff quotient has been taken up a few notches this go ’round (most notably on the muscular “Cold” and the crunchy “Feel”), the band is at its best when vocalist Rob Thomas showcases his signature lyrical phrasing in reflective and beseeching power ballads. “Unwell” is softly engaging and, along with the equally soulful “Hand Me Down,” instantly memorable. Thomas won a songwriting Grammy in 2000 for his collaboration with Carlos Santana on “Smooth” and here, in what appears to be an attempt to capitalize on that star-clout assist, has co-written the similar-sounding, radio-ready “Disease” with Mick Jagger. In fact, for the first time in Matchbox Twenty’s history, all members of the band (lead guitarist Kyle Cook, rhythm guitarist Adam Gaynor, bassist Brian Yale, and drummer Paul Doucette) receive songwriting credits, making for a more fleshed out and expanded sound. Neither disappointing nor surprising, More Than You Think You Are has a comfortable, warm feel to it but emits only a subtle trace of musical growth.
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