Collective Soul

El Music Group, 2006


REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


For music of Collective Soul's kind, with its tightly wound crisp guitar hooks and foot-tapping three-minute long energetic numbers, capturing its sound live and making a record out of it was a natural progression.

It is surprising, though, that the band took Metallica's route and did a symphony live record, especially since it is not known to be drastically experimental or even eccentric enough to take such a step. Moreover, when the symphonic orchestra in question is made up of teenagers, it makes for a bigger surprise to this unexpected move from a band, which one would expect no more than a straightforward live record from.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

But for a outfit that is not meant to be path-breaking, and is underrated all the same, such a move is a good way to show the world that Collective Soul is capable of being unconventional, and that there is more to these guys than just their catchy pop-rock anthems.

Though this project may sound too weird, Home can be treated like any other live rock album. The band doesn't allow the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra to take over its songs completely; instead, Collective Soul performs like a regular rock band, and the Youth Orchestra provides an additional layer to the tracks without indulging in them too much. It acts as a part of Collective Soul, and not as a separate collaborative unit.

As far as the tracks covered on this record go, Home encompasses pretty much all Collective Soul favorites, with an extra focus on songs from Youth. The cuts don't sound much different from their studio versions, yet are just as energetic, honest and lively.

The Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra has some fine moments on this record where it stands out, making a powerful presence: The lush horn section on "December" pumps up its original toned-down orchestration; "Heavy" is made racier and more chaotic by some exhilarating film-score arrangements that sound like a soundtrack from an action flick. On "Crown," the experimentation goes a step further and the song is completely transmogrified, with the music consisting of strings and nothing else.

Though tied to the group's Youth project, Home is basically a "best of" disc, and offers almost everything that the band's greatest hits CD 7even Year Itch has, coming off as an even more comprehensive collection of this band's hits over its 12-year career. Best of all, it captures Collective Soul doing what it does better than making exciting rock music in the studio: playing it live.

Rating: B+

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© 2006 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 Group, and is used for informational purposes only.