The current music landscape has made the act of minimalist songwriting so commonplace that any artist or band that produces anything on the contrary is seen as a pleasant surprise. See What You Started By Continuing by Collective Soul is that pleasant surprise.
Collective Soul’s ninth studio album comes six years after their previous offering, their second self-titled album that was alternatively titled Rabbit. In the interim, the band underwent a lineup shift with Johnny Rabb replacing Cheney Brannon on Drums, and Jesse Triplett replacing Joel Kosche at lead guitar. In addition to the slight cosmetic change a some of the band members embarked on their own side projects in the middle of touring.
It’s rare for a band that has been active since the early 90’s to come out with anything groundbreaking, and Collective Soul is no different. However, their time apart paid dividends in the songwriting process, as from the raw sounding opening riff of their lead single “This” to the classical fade out of the final track “Without Me,” there was a feeling of freshness that hadn’t existed in anything the band had made since 1999’s Dosage.
The pacing of See What You Started By Continuing is superb. The album frequently shifts from fast to slow, but the transitions are perfectly timed in a way that the shift is never so abrupt that it’s unanticipated. The instrumentation was crafted in such a manner that a series of small subtle changes in the style of riffs and types of instruments used gave each individual song its own individual identity with the finished product still sounding like one cohesive unit.
While the music feels brings a diverse sound, Collective Soul still manages to pack in plenty of ballads during the 38 minutes of the album. Whether the songs are about a woman, multiple women or religion, the band never fails to bring the pop-laden sentiment.
Overall, See What You Started By Continuing by Collective Soul is a solid rock album that manages to mix their post-grunge and pop-friendly styles while avoiding the usual repetition of modern mainstream music. Though it is far from the perfect album, the way it was written was certainly a breath of fresh air.
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