If there’s one thing you can say about Collective Soul, it’s the fact that they are masters of guitars and distortion. They have managed to create their own unique sound in an industry full of re-makes and copycats. The band’s fourth effort, Dosage , is yet another creative and one of a kind recording that will set the world on it’s “collective” ear.
The band headed into Miami’s Criteria Studios this time around, as opposed to the “Shack” in the Georgia woods where the previous recording had been done, and have come out with the solid, understood, Collective Soul sound, but jived with a more techno ’90s sounding edge. Dosage ranges from searing, distorted guitar screamers to waltz-inspired softies, to a full-on “Crown” that feels so much like Pink Floyd you might be mistaken in thinking that it IS Pink Floyd.
One tune in particular, “Generate,” has a clear Stabbing Westward techno-rock thing going, although there are touches of Enigma sneaking around in the background. Lead guitarist Ross Childress, makes his song-writing/singing debut on Dosage with a melodic pop tune called “Dandy Life,” and if Roland isn’t careful, he may lose his star lead guitar man to Childress’ own talents! It’s an excellent tune, and Childress should take his turn at the microphone more often… quite impressive for a debut!
Stand-outs on this fourth release are “No More No Less,” with buzzing bee-like guitars, a strong bassline provided by Will Turpin, and haunting piano tripping around among the distortion…(this is going to be a great dance tune). “Slow,” co-written by Ed Roland and younger brother Dean, is an angry, sneering song that bites down hard and shakes it’s head with determined voraciousness. My personal favorite is “Not The One,” written in three-four waltz timing that Roland admits he had a hard time singing because of the nature of the song itself….he tried to sing it hard, but the song only required a mere whisper.
Roland has managed to work string sections into quite few of these tunes (he’s a genius at this!), most especially in the beautiful and emotional song “Needs,” that closes with a deep-throated, sad cello piece. Be careful when you think this CD has concluded….give yourself a minute before hitting the stop button….a nice, familiar surprise waits in the finale.
Dosage has one of the best mixes I’ve heard in years, with equal parts layered like a dream, and no one instrument hitting you in the face, despite the facts that it was mixed by guitar recording studio wizard, Tom Lord-Alge, and that Collective Soul is basically known for their three guitar assault. What has transpired is a deeply textured blend of songs that once again shows the versatility of a band that has endured the rash of one-hit-wonders that have come and gone over the last decade of rock and roll. Dosage will go down as one of the top albums of 1999, I have no doubt. A conversant, beautiful, work of rock and roll art that displays the many sides of Collective Soul.
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