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Heavy dose of nostalgia carries Collective Soul

Chris McGrady | Tuesday, September 11, 2007

With the explosion of grunge in the American Northwest, a multitude of bands emerged, either from within the grunge movement or as a by-product of the new sound sensation that was beginning to sweep the country. One of these bands, was Collective Soul, who has just released their latest, and 13th, effort entitled “Afterworld.”

Collective Soul formed in Stockbridge, Georgia in the early ’90s, a by-product of the grunge/punk movement that had started in Seattle and was cruising across the U.S. like a tidal wave. The band was formed by Ed Roland (lead singer/songwriter and keyboardist), Dean Roland (guitar), Joel Kosche (guitar), Will Turpin (bass/percussion) and Shane Evans (drums/percussion). They exploded onto the scene with their first album, “Hints Allegations and Things Left Unsaid” an album that blew up to a multi-platinum opening. By the end of 1994, the group had played with Aerosmith and was featured as part of Woodstock.

After a series of albums that varied in success, Collective Soul is back to its original form on “Afterworld.” The CD opens with the track “New Vibration.” Ironically, the song has strong influences from early work by the group, particularly from the group’s self-titled 1995 release. The song features the driven rock-riffs that helped the band establish itself.

The fifth track, “All That I Know,” is another strong effort. The song opens with a quirky drumbeat, before Roland echoes in with some well placed doo-wops. While the song is a bit cookie cutter in its overall sound, it does not stop it from being any more addictive or fun to listen to. Roland’s falsetto breaks the song into manageable, and enjoyable, chunks.

The ninth song, “Persuasion of You,” opens with a gain-heavy guitar and Roland’s forceful singing. This might be the most nostalgic of the songs on the album and will invoke memories of Collective Soul’s previous-efforts “She Gathers Rain,” “Where the River Flows” and “Gel.”

The album closes with “Adored,” a fitting end to a fine CD. Mellow and harmonious, the song closes the album on a superb note. It is always depressing when a CD ends on a bad note, leaving a sour taste in the listener’s mouth. “Adored” does just the opposite – it makes the listener wish the album weren’t over.

All in all, “Afterworld” is a fine effort and the best to come out of Collective Soul in years. For anyone wishing for a dose of nostalgia circa 1997, this is the album to buy.