Collective Soul, one of the most distinctive rock bands (and one of the best in my opinion) of the nineties, has returned this month with a brand new album – See What You Started By Continuing and as fans of the U.S band will agree – its a long overdue return for the outfit.
Collective Soul have been absent from the recording studio for a lengthy 6 years with their last studio record being 2009’s self-titled release which, let’s face it, flew under the radar for most people – including Collective Soul fans. The band enjoyed a long stint as one of the biggest international breakthrough acts during their nineties heyday. Singles that included Why?, Run, Gel, December and The World I Know solidified the bands position as a leading powerhouse but the band are now back with a new collection which showcases an outfit in tip top form.
The bands ninth studio release is a stellar return for an act who are still going strong after over 20 years together. The collection is led by brand new single, This which is a fitting track to return with and could easily be mistaken for a hit from the bands heyday while still retaining modern ingredients to make it sound fresh and relevant amongst the rock output of today’s new acts. While the new songs on this new record boast a nostalgic vein that will keep long-time fans coming back for more, the bands employment of modern recording techniques and instruments, as well as perhaps a line-up facelift that saw drummer Johnny Rabb and guitarist Jesse Triplett replacing Cheney Brannon and Joel Kosche respectively, could be elements that have helped Collective Soul conquer with See What You Started By Continuing and gain new followers.
For fans of the heavier side of Collective Soul, Exposed is as rough as it gets on See What You Started By Continuing. Split up by a soft, contrasting guitar strum in the middle of the track followed by a brief Roland singalong, the track is head thrashing hit-making from a band that can swiftly swing between full throttle scorchers and sentimental acoustic pop-oriented gems like AYTA quite flawlessly and effortlessly.
Contagious is an epic guitar lover’s dream and unapologetically sits on the fence between cult and the mainstream. This is a track that I’m sure would lend itself well to the set list of the albums tour.
Hurricane carries a Queens of the Stoneage No One Knows-esque guitar riff but as soon as Roland’s distinctive vocals rain over the track, there is no denying that this is pure thoroughbred Collective Soul enjoying one of their finest hours.
The band, now a couple of decades into their illustrious and chart successful career, have managed to incorporate a modern, fresh sound on the new record while pulling their original heyday rock style into the fold. Songs like the piano led Memories of 2005 and the orchestral charm of Without Me offer a reminder of some of the bands early nineties material along with tracks like lead single This offering long time Collective Soul fans a nostalgic slice of memorable guitar rock from a time when quality material wasn’t a minority in the music industry.
One thing that I have always been drawn to about Collective Soul is their approach to a genre that can at times keep its fan-base quite close-knit. As someone who tends to sway toward the pop scene, Collective Soul have always been a go-to band in rock that I have never really been able to falter. There is a welcoming quality to them that, while they are regarded a fully-fledged rock band, makes everyone feel part of the family.
See What You Started By Continuing conveys an immediate ‘classic’ feel and you hear this through songs like This, Hurricane, Contagious or the low and grinding Life. While the band may not have been the most consistent act in recent years and only release records every several but going from this new album, it’s been well worth the wait. A truly superb collection from a band with plenty more gas in the tank!
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