By People Staff
December 09, 2002 12:00 PM

matchbox twenty (Melisma/Atlantic)

matchbox twenty is the Rodney Dangerfield of pop-rock bands. Neither as hard as Creed nor as cool as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the quintet gets no respect for being a VH1 group that even your mother would like. But on matchbox twenty’s third album, front man Rob Thomas and company prove that they are more than you think they are. From the post-grunge guitar crunch of “Feel” to the acoustic country accents of “Unwell,” this is music that is rich in melody and hooks. The first single, “Disease,” cowritten by Thomas and Mick Jagger, recalls the rhythmic swagger of “Smooth,” Thomas’s 1999 smash with Santana, and it has an edge missing from some of matchbox’s previous work. “You left a stain on every one of my good days,” Thomas sneers in his agitated voice. Although matchbox could have done without the cheesy gospel choir on “Downfall,” that minor misstep can’t bring this disc down.

BOTTOM LINE: matchbox catches fire