Collective Soul have had some hits over the years. Think about Shine, Where The River Flows, Gel and The World I Know for examples. All great songs, but a radio hit isn’t always a bands best work. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll find gold – and on new album, Blood, they might have just delivered their best album from start to finish to date.
Generally when I write a review, I’ll give it a minimum of two listens. This one got six, and there is such depth to the material that I was hearing more with every spin. The band are no strangers to melody, and this record has it in spades.. it’s nothing short of infectious.
“Nows the Time” is a rollicking number, infused with a touch of blues, but driven by a huge chorus and a hooky guitar riff that is bouncy as all get out – sure to be a crowd pleaser, and a definite “instant classic”. The vibe remains intact for “Over Me” – another bouncy track, featuring another great riff. This one is really brought to life by the vocals.
“Crushed” opens with funky drums and some quirky guitar work that wouldn’t be out of place on a Primus Record, but when it opens up for the chorus it becomes the Collective Soul that we know and love. Three tracks in, and if you’re not digging this album, your obviously not paying attention.
“Right As Rain” is modern stadium rock at its best. Big and bold, catchy and very easy to listen to. “Them Blues” could be a Foreigner song. The piano is the driving force here, for a soft and tender song, that also knows when to step it up and jump into rock opera territory. There’s also a marvellous guitar solo towards the end.
“Good Place To Start” features some thought provoking lyrics, all about stopping to smell the roses, for lack of a better term – again a little softer, but the bold choruses pick the mood up. This is actually a great track, and possibly the highlight for me. “Observation of Thoughts” is a familiar sound for the band, while “Changed” brings the piano back for a touching ballad.
“Big Sky” is my least favourite track from Blood, but it’s still pretty good, and fits in very well with the overall feel of the album. It’s a record that will suit a quiet Sunday afternoon with good company and a few beverages.
The final track is “Porch Swing”, and it’s another highlight for me. It’s a laid back affair, with some southern influence and whistles added for something extra. This track seems to be about minding ones own business and moving forward in your own space – something that reminds me of myself.
This is a fantastic album. Lyrically, Collective Soul are a very intelligent and interesting band. Musically, they’re equally as interesting. I think they can do it all – even when they dig in to something new, it fits them like a glove. I love the Self Titled album from 1995, but Blood, 24 years later (and here’s hoping for 24 more years!), has really grabbed me and might just be my new favourite Collective Soul album.
Review by Shayne McGowan