Collective Soul

El Music, 2004

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


After an extensive hiatus of four years, Collective Soul is back with all the positive energy it is known for: This has always been its strength, and thank god it is still hanging on to it.

The group has gone through a few personal as well as professional changes in the four years of its absence: It have a new producer -- Dexter Green -- and a new guitarist, Joel Kosche. Furthermore, Youth is the act's first release on its independent label, El Music Group. Also, singer Ed Roland got divorced, and drummer Will Turpin had a child.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

So how much have all these changes affected the band on the creative front? Thankfully, not that much. The men are as energetic as ever, and importantly, they have limited themselves to their trademark style of catchy guitar-hooks, irresistibly singable choruses, and numbers that last for less than three-and-half minutes.

The lyrics are as uplifting as the music: "Oh I'm newly calibrated / All shiny and clean…Oh I'm happy as Christmas / All wrapped to be seen," sings vocalist Ed Rolland on Collective Soul's first new track in four years, "Better Now," which features the chorus "Let the word out / I've got to get out / Oh I'm feeling better now."

On the sprightly "Feels Like (It Feels All Right)", he declares "It feels like ready go / I'm full throttle while the fluids flow," and asserts "Yeah I'm coming round, this world loves me now / Feel the rhythm of changes laying down" on the exuberantly optimistic "General Attitude."

Youth is as conventional a Collective Soul record as any of its other ones. If Hints Allegations…is remembered for the hit single"Shine," and Collective Soul for "Gel," then Youth offers "Counting The Days" -- a song having the perfect attributes of a single -- as a fitting counterpart.

As a matter of fact, Youth captures all the other elements of a traditional Collective Soul record: hard-hitting guitar-power songs ("Better Now," with the awesomely funky sax solo), "There's A Way," and "Feels Like"; slower ballad-like numbers ("How Do You Love," "Under Heaven's Skies" and "Satellite"); and sexy dance-grooves ("Home" and "General Attitude").

With so many music styles being infused with each other in the wider music industry, and so many of the other attempts at creating hybrids falling flat on their faces, Collective Soul's interesting pastiche of crispy rock music mixed with fun pop vibes has proven successful time and again with every album that it has put out. The band is undoubtedly one of the few genuine pop-rock acts left in the music industry, which stinks today of so many phony look-alikes.

Rating: B+

User Rating: A



© 2005 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of El Music, and is used for informational purposes only.