Ohh, I’m vibrating.
A month or so ago I saw Collective Soul released a new album. Exciting! And when did this one come out? Ah, just an expanded version of Disciplined Breakdown from 1997. It didn’t do much for me. Dashed hopes.
Turns out I just needed to wait a little longer.
Collective Soul sort of celebrates their 30th anniversary this year with their official formation occurring in 1992 and what better way to commemorate than the release of their 11th album Vibrating.
The 10 song, 40 minute Vibrating continues the band’s standard garage alternative rock sound while occasionally tapping into their gritty softer side but without the mush. The Collective Soul brand works, this album doesn’t disappoint and, not that the band ever went away, it just feels like they are back. In fact, the three-year break between their last, the critically acclaimed Blood, marks the band’s shortest time period in between releases since 2007’s Afterwords and their 2009 self-titled release.
Collective Soul, of course, retains singer Ed Rolan, rhythm guitarist (and brother to Roland) Dean Roland and bassist Will Turpin all from the original lineup. Drummer Johnny Rebb has a decade with the band on his resume and not so newcomer anymore (in the very talented) Jess Triplett on lead guitar arrived in 2014.
The first half of Vibrating pulsates the style of rock fans expect from Collective Soul thanks to a reliance on their two guitarists. Lots of choice chords and gratifying solos off the fretboard always surrounded by satisfying melodies. “Cut the Cord” and “Reason” should keep the zealous happy with vintage sounds accentuated by dynamic guitar riffs. “All Our Pieces” is a song Bon Jovi can no longer write or sing and Roland’s drawl adds that extra touch to make it special.
“Take” takes you back to the band’s founding decade in a modern grunge approach along with a fervid solo. Haha, I wonder if Roland wanted to call “Undone” “Come Undone” – as the lyrics go – but Duran Duran probably owns the rights to that. Nowhere near in sound to the wonder boys hit from 1993, “Undone” does border on the pop side though the whimsical guitar solo gives this one legs.
Vibrating shifts gears a bit for the second half starting with a ballad of sorts in the weighty “Rule No. 1” which flaunts lots of anguish in both vocal delivery and music all without sending the listener over the edge. A significant deep cut.
The Bowie esque “A Conversation With’ nails down a great musical architecture and, arguably, an unconventional composition for Collective Soul, outside the chorus. A welcome addition. “Just Looking Around” fits nicely into the Collective Soul fold and the band ends with a banger on “Back Again.” A great break-up song or at least a “thanks anyway I’ve moved on song” in this simple, slow and methodical track steered completely by Roland’s vocals. Love the lyric “I could take you back but today’s not tomorrow’s news.”
But what, there’s one more song!
Sadly yes. “Where Do I Go” starts off OK enough then the horn section makes an appearance and the kiddie chorus chimes in. A true filler that does not help redefine the stereotypical album closing song.
Collective Soul Vibrating Songs:
- Cut the Cord
- All Our Pieces
- Rule No. 1
- A Conversation With
- Just Looking Around
- Back Again
- Where Do I Go