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Collective Soul's new CD is by far their most mature effort to date. It blends the classic and modern rock sounds together, proving the group's appeal to a diverse fan base. This marks the band's fifth album in six years, with relentless touring in between, but the strength of the record shows Ed Roland and company get better with time while continually improving upon the band's tightness.
The group first burst onto the scene in 1994 with their hit album Hints, Allegations, and Things Left Unsaid, which spawned the uplifting hit "Shine." The following year, they hit it big again with their self-titled follow-up featuring the hits "December" and "The World I Know." The 1997 album Disciplined Breakdown spawned "Precious Declaration" and "Listen," while the following year's Dosage produced the hit "Heavy." Perhaps a Greatest Hits' compilation should have been released over this collection of brand new songs.
On Blender, the group's catchy and powerful "Why Pt. 2" is filled with rock hooks and heavy radio airplay potential. Collective Soul also teams up with Elton John for "Perfect Day," a truly moving experience for Roland in particular. John was one of his main songwriting influences, so recording the track together was a dream come true, and it turned out to be a vibrant masterpiece.
In addition, the opening cut "Skin" is a heavy rocker, while the disc's closer "Happiness" jams at arguably the hardest level in the group's catalogue. The track will make an awesome live track mixed with thrashing guitars and distorted vocals.
Blender once again proves this group is a force to be reckoned with, and just over a half-decade after their inception, they've most likely earned a spot in the rock and roll longevity category.
Andy Argyrakis 01/07/2001