CD Review: Maroon 5

Hands All Over (A&M/Octone)

Isn't it a little early for Maroon 5 to get back to basics? After all, Hands All Over is only their third album. Their last record, 2007's It Won't Be Soon Before Long, was surprisingly durable, propelled by "Makes Me Wonder" and "Won't Go Home Without You," which were far craftier than anything on their debut. But they weren't monster hits like "This Love" and "She Will Be Loved," so the band hooks up with producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange here in hopes of reigniting some of that fire. Hands All Over's best parts recall Long's clever chords and twisty progressions, especially a pair of tracks — "Stutter" and "How" — that springboard off one-word conceits into dynamite hooks. But the single "Misery" isn't very good, the slow songs suck, and there are a lot of lyrics about "the shackles of love." It's a defeated return to the middle of the road after a brief, exciting fling with muscular Prince-style rock. Dan Weiss

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