Collective Soul hasn’t made a true rock record since their self-titled album. That was 20 years ago. After that album, they turned into melodic alternative band that dove into pop more and more as the years rolled by. The follow up to that self-titled album was “Dosage” and after that they never really looked back. This new album, “See What You Started by Continuing” has Collective Soul returning to their roots, something that their younger fans have never really heard. This album is as guitar heavy as anything that you’ll hear from the band, and thinking about it – it makes sense.
The last thing that Collective Soul did before taking their break to dive into individual projects was the “Dosage” tour. It was an unreal experience that was an amazing amount of fun to go and see, but knowing the artistic pedigree of the band it was something that they were tired of doing by the end of the tour. So getting the guys back together and working on new music, it makes a lot of sense that they would go away from the vibe of “Dosage” and do something different. In this case, they return to the rock-heavy stuff that the band did in its early days. That’s what this album is, for better or for worse.
Sometimes it certainly is better. The front of this album burns with “This” and “Hurricane” and “Contagious” in the middle of the album is one of the more fun tracks that the band has released in years. There’s also some worse moments there too. Every guitar intro to every song on this album is a technical wonder that’s great to hear. But there are a smattering of solos on the album that don’t really click. It’s almost like the guys have heard the lack of guitar in popular music and attempted to overcompensate by themselves. The solos feel a touch out of place here but when the band plays these songs live they are going to be unreal. It also needs to be noted that while this album is largely a rock record, there are some smoother moments from the Rolands and co. too. “AYTA” and “Memoirs of 2005” are melodic and fantastic and will become favorites for more than a few fans.
Touring is really what Collective Soul is all about these days. They are an amazing live act and while they’ve got a big enough catalog that they won’t get to play most of these songs live, when they do they will get reacted to. It’s great to hear the band stretching their comfort zone and doing some cool things on a new album, and that’s really what this album is.