Collective Soul again turn back the clock to the '70s, when rock bands were bigger than life, guitar riffs were circuitous, lyrics tended to the repetitive, and the drumming was bombastic. The Roland brothers and company reinvigorate the power ballad in a way that even Jon Bon Jovi has never been able to--and they do so totally without irony. In fact it's no joke that they've convinced old-school rock icon Elton John to croon on "Perfect Day." Collective Soul allowed a contest-winning fan to name their fifth album Blender, but it's not a particularly apt name, since they deviate so little from their classic-rock approach, save the frenetic, Prince-like "Vent," with its flashy guitar gymnastics and laughable lyrics ("You bite before you lick / Why? Because you're such a prick") and the well-executed psychedelic frills in the rhythmically challenged "Skin." But other than those artistic curves, Collective Soul serve up muscular anthems about being misunderstood, ("You Speak My Language"), finding one's way out of chaos ("Turn Around"), and love gone bad ("Why Pt. 2") with the same lumbering lyrics that colored their first four albums.
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