Blood kicks off with the one-two punch of Now’s the Time and Over Me. These infectious guitar-driven romps both feature unmistakable Collective Soul hooks, hard driving beats, and energy that can’t be missed. Next we get a tune that throws me back right into the 90’s - with a vibe that feels eerily reminiscent of Hints or Disciplined era CS - Crushed provides a great little nostalgic ride before the album hits its’ heart and Soul. Drop the top, crank the volume, and mash the pedal - we are just getting started!
The next four tracks: Right As Rain, Them Blues, Good Place to Start, and Observation of Thoughts - may just be the strongest 4 consecutive tracks in the history of Collective Soul. Each of these songs is a strong single-worthy track, that shows just how talented and diverse the song-writing of Ed Roland has become.
The guitar heavy sing-along Right as Rain is arguably the best CS song since Shine. And that is saying a-lot - there have been some great songs over those intervening 25 years. On Them Blues Ed takes on the piano with great success, and the solo by Jesse Triplet is pure perfection. While Ed cites Prince’s Purple Rain as the influence behind the song I personally hear some Elton John in there. (Then again it could be the glasses and hat that Ed has been wearing that conjures more Elton than Prince.) Good Place to Start is a great sing-along rocker that will have you tapping your foot in rhythm the whole time, and Observation of Thoughts is just pure Collective Soul, the perfect bookend to the album’s second act.
The album’s third act just feels comfortable - three very good CS songs that bring the album to a fitting conclusion. After 4 strong rockers, Changed gives a bit of a sonic respite with its’ slower tempo and straight-forward groove, then Big Sky and Porch Swing round out the effort with the classic mid-tempo, harmony-heavy, layered sound CS has become known for.
While I am not exactly sure what the album title refers to (with an obscured picture of Ed’s pregnant wife on the cover it could be a reference to family blood lines.) Just maybe it signifies that this album captures the very essence of Collective Soul - their blood runs through every song in a way they have never captured before. It is great to hear a band with so much history find a relevant voice in this era of download and streaming. I am certainly looking forward to what they do next!