For the August 29th, 2020 Record Store Day, Collective Soul issued a 12″ EP called Half & Half. It is played at 45 RPMs and consists of 2 new songs and 2 cover songs…thus half and half. The vinyl isn’t an exclusive RSD issue, it is a First Release meaning the band will release this at a later time. I am hoping the fact that his is a clear transparent vinyl will be the exclusive RSD part otherwise the only good about it is that I got to hear it before anyone who gets the regular release.
A few interesting notes on the back cover, the band mentions that their new album ‘Vibrating’ will be coming out soon which probably means this two new songs will be on it, but I hope not the covers then this stays a little special. Also, I find it funny they are all wearing some form of sunglasses and I still get a kick out of Ed Roland now going by E Roland because a) it is must have been hard with such a long name as Ed that E is just easier for his mind and b) he is starting to think he is Prince and we will soon be getting a symbol as a name and he is just prepping us.
The first side of the E.P. has one new song and one cover. The cover is first so we will start with it. The song is “Opera Star” and is a Neil Young Cover. Not being a huge Neil Young fan I am not very familiar with this song, but I did go back and listen to it so I had a frame of reference. Neil’s song is a little quirky and the vocals are, let us say, unique. As a result, I really dig the Collective Soul version. It is a little more rocking and they did tweak this one a little more to their own sound rather than Neil’s which I think is how you should do covers…make them sound like you. I would listen to this again and again. Good job boys, that one is a lot of fun!
The second track, “Let Her Out”, sounds like classic Collective Soul. It is high energy and has that same style and sonics you would expect. It is another fun track and at less than 3 minutes, it gets in and gets out and leaves you wanting more like a good song should. Will Turpin’s bass is laying down a great groove on this one and is kind of the driving force behind the song. It sounds familiar and therefore easy to pick up and sing or hum along.
The B-Side starts off with another new track called “Back Again”. This one is a slower tempo song almost ballad like, but not a power ballad. There is a sadness to it and not the typical Collective Soul sound with the exception of E’s vocals. I like the darker tone and I am hoping we will see more of this variety on the new album when it comes out.
The final track is the song “The One I Love” which is an R.E.M. cover from another Georgia band that made it big like Collective Soul. They do the song justice and brings us a little more funky version heavy on the bass thanks to the might Will Turpin. They stick mainly to the original version and as a result doesn’t have the same effect as the original because E doesn’t have that nasally whine that Michael Stipe has that makes that one so special. As far as covers go, I like the “Opera Star” cover from earlier because I am less familiar with it. This one is so engrained as R.E.M. it was hard from me to not want to hear that version.
Overall, this is a great piece to my newly growing Collective Soul collection, newly because most of their albums are not on vinyl. I think I have all of those that are so far and as they come out, I will grab the rest. Can’t wait for the new album if this is what is to come. Not all 4 songs were smash hits with only 1 miss, so I will give this a 3.75 out of 5.0 Stars. And hardcore fan will want this in their collection.