April 21, 1997 12:00 PM

Collective Soul

Just when you thought Bush had cornered Grunge Lite, this Georgia quintet offers up a satisfying menu for those who want to limit their distortion intake (but still enjoy nibbling on crumbs of feedback). Disciplined Breakdown—their second album since their ’94 debut exploded with the hit “Shine”—has enough sing-along pop on it for a Party of Five soundtrack. “Precious Declaration” blends adventurous string interludes, singer-songwriter Ed Roland’s emotive—albeit tonally limited—voice and a head-bobbing beat into an ’80s-like rena-rock anthem coated with just enough metal to please the MTV masses. Although Roland seems to have OD’d on heartache (10 of the 12 tracks concern romantic love), his angst can erupt with the intense poetry of testosterone-infused American rock and roll. Too bad he has to hang his thoughtful words on music—stunted chord progressions, droopy ballads, bland guitar solos—that is often so uninspired. (Atlantic)

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