At heart a safe if emotive and catchy middle-of-the-road rock band, Collective Soul up the prescription on Dosage, turning in an 11-song collection that stretches previous aural boundaries with mixed results. The Southern-bred quintet is literary in its lyrical leanings and thoughtful in its deft and dynamic pop-rock songcraft. Programming and keyboards are now part of the group's arsenal. Dosage's production, meanwhile, is handled by singer-guitarist Ed Roland and is exceedingly lively and crisp. The collection is more loose, experimental and modern--and less classic-rock-leaning--than Collective Soul's two previous albums. There's nothing quite in the vein of "Shine" or "Precious Declaration," two memorable, high-impact singles from the band's first two sets, though "Generate," "Heavy," and "Crown" are standouts. Ultimately, Dosage is a cohesive collection of strong songs and a smart step up for the band. It just may insure survival for a group where others of a similar musical ilk--such as Brother Cane and Cry of Love--have floundered.
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