Collective Soul's sixth shows consistent quality

Michael Ford
Arts & Entertainment Editor   

   Although Collective Soul amassed a cult following over the years, they never received the due recognition their endless talent not only deserves, but demands. “Youth,” their sixth studio album, plunges listeners into more of what they expect from the band – brilliantly composed music.

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   Bandleader Ed Roland and the rest of the boys from Georgia seem incapable of writing bad music. Ever since their debut hit single “Shine” penetrated airwaves in 1993, they continue to relentlessly churn out music screaming with value. The music and lyrics blend together with a smoothness rarely achieved in an industry chock-full of incoherent racket.

   “One thing that has kept us from being overly excited about it (their success) is that we are constantly looking toward the future - the next avenue we will head down,” guitarist Will Turpin said at http://www.voxonline.com. “I mean it's awesome and very cool, but we don't dwell on it at all. It'll get broken in a year or so anyway.”

   The release of a greatest hits album almost always indicates the demise of a band, or at least signals the end of their best music. Collective Soul braved this road in 2001 with the release of “7even Year Itch,” a compilation of their best music until then. Luckily for fans, the theory does not always hold true, as the band defies it with “Youth.”

   “Youth” continues the tradition the band works so hard to maintain. With their trademark high production value intact and Roland sounding fresher than ever, you hear vintage Collective Soul slowly manifest itself as the album progresses. While “Under Heaven’s Skies” resonates with radio ready beats, “How Do You Love”ís beautiful vocals rival even the very best of their previous work.

   While none of the tracks should be dubbed as filler, a few tended to sound a bit too similar. Three or four of the songs began to blur together and could just as easily been one extended song. Although the few tracks in question proved listenable, you want variation in an album, and this one begs for more. This presents itself as a minor, but glaring issue on every Collective Soul album to date.

   Although Collective Soul did not announce a world tour to coincide with “Youth,” they toured with major headliners such as Aerosmith and Van Halen on previous outings. Furthermore, they throw around wild ambitions about who they would prefer to tour with in the future.

   “John Fogerty or Creedence, that would be great, if it were possible,” Turpin said at http://www.voxonline.com. “Pete Townsend called us. We would love to play with The Who. There are other bands that would be great to tour with, like King's X or Jellyfish.”

   Collective Soul continues to impress their fans with a consistency of quality music that celebrates 10 years of longevity with “Youth.” Although they may never attain the status fans hope and know the band deserves, they will always maintain a healthy following due to an undeniable talent that shines brighter than ever on this album.

Grade: B

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