Colliding By Design opens with Diagram of a Simple Man, a track which brings an indie feel to the album from the off. A 4-note vocal melody rings out in the first verse which demonstrates classic indie style, and the effects on the guitars in the intro play to the genre fully. The guitars almost verge on an early Coldplay-esque feel as they play sliding leads throughout, but the song sets the tone for the rest of the album to follow. The title track comes next, which is an indie pop sound with copious volumes of tambourine which adds to the depth to an extent but the whole track doesn’t build much and it seems to end having gone nowhere extravagant.
The middle of the album seems to pass by tracks with no standouts until Goodbye, the fifth track on Collide By Design. The song holds a more funky drumbeat throughout and while the vocals here are all layered and well-crafted as elsewhere, the guitar solo is what differentiates this track. Its flare and confident style play over the drums and bass, which also happen to be some of the best parts on the album for both. Through the first two verses, the song builds to a chorus that holds some punch which remains to the end.
Fire and Rain is another track which has good promise, but just as the track starts to build to something exciting it breaks back down again. The dynamic between the louder sections and the quieter ones demonstrates the skill of the band as a whole, but the holding back sums up Colliding By Design well – close to something special yet lacking that fundamental “wow factor” to tip it over the edge.
Overall, an album that would provide good background music for documentaries and films yet as calm as it is this leads to a fairly bland piece in total. While there is some variation throughout, the songs sound largely the same and although this can be seen as a positive in some instances, this album lacks the substance needed for quality to be recreated. Not a bad album for a band who had nine years out of the game, but Colliding By Design is most definitely not Acceptance‘s strongest material.