From The Ground Up

Collective Soul

El Music Group, 2005

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


From The Ground Up is an all-acoustic record. In that respect, it isn't much different from the "MTV Unplugged" records that were released by a few bands back in the nineties, with the exception that this album has been recorded in a studio, instead of in front of a live audience.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

This seven-song EP (or eight-song EP, including the hidden track) finds the otherwise zesty Collective Soul in a relaxed mood, with the songs having an eased tempo. From The Ground Up does not try to be very ambitious. It is not the "acoustic" record -- Jar Of Flies -- that Alice In Chains had put up, which was well laden with grand musical arrangements. It is just an album of selected numbers from the band's previous LPs, played without the frills of electric guitars, and done with the bare minimum instruments.

Speaking of bare minimum instruments, "December" and "Counting The Days" are the only two numbers on the record having drums, though in rather toned-down forms. "December" has pianos, but the rest of the album is just plain acoustic guitars and basses.

Still, the album doesn't prove to be a bore, even though it is laidback and slow. Its stripped simplicity doesn't sound crude, but rather refined.

"December" and "Counting The Days," the most decked-out numbers on From The Ground Up, are the album standouts. But, the less adorned ones come close enough, so that they are not completely overshadowed by the standouts.

Collective Soul is a band that has always been non-acoustic and fast-paced. An album like From The Ground Up sets a different mood to the act's peppy numbers, and for fans, it is an interesting collection of alternate versions of songs they are familiar with.

Though this record would be best enjoyed by those who know the original versions of the songs, others will like it too, though not to the same extent.

Rating: B

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© 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 Group, and is used for informational purposes only.