Bouncing Souls - 20th Anniversary Series: Volume One [7 inch] (Cover Artwork)

Bouncing Souls

Bouncing Souls: 20th Anniversary Series: Volume One [7 inch]20th Anniversary Series: Volume One [7 inch] (2009)
Chunksaah Records

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:

Contributed by: JeloneJelone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

New Jersey punk rock lifers the Bouncing Souls have always been nostalgic, among other things. The band's catalog is filled with love songs to their friends ("Lamar Vannoy," "Kate Is Great"), their friendship ("Manthem"), even their favorite inanimate objects ("Streetlight Serenade (To No One)"). Th.

New Jersey punk rock lifers the Bouncing Souls have always been nostalgic, among other things. The band's catalog is filled with love songs to their friends ("Lamar Vannoy," "Kate Is Great"), their friendship ("Manthem"), even their favorite inanimate objects ("Streetlight Serenade (To No One)"). The group celebrated its 15th anniversary with the very excellent award-winning documentary Do You Remember?: 15 Years of the Bouncing Souls. The doc was a well-made testament to the Bouncing Souls, who have enjoyed a longer creative streak of great albums that exceeds those by the Clash, the Ramones, Rancid, Jawbreaker and many more. To commemorate the band's 20th anniversary this year, the Bouncing Souls simultaneously embraced new and old audio technology: On the first of every month in 2009, the band has been releasing a new MP3 for sale. Every third month, the band's personal label, Chunksaah, is releasing a seven-inch collecting the three songs released online thus far, plus a bonus track. It's both new-fangled yet very retro.

Well, it's April, and the Souls have -- albeit a month late -- released the aptly titled 20th Anniversary Series: Volume One. This 33 1/3 beauty comes on colored wax (mine is black and maroon), and the cover forms part of a Souls anniversary logo created by bassist Bryan Kienlen and Arturo Vega. Now, I haven't been keeping up with the band's online releases (I also wait for my favorite TV shows to come out on DVD. Watching three seasons of How I Met Your Mother within like a week is awesome), so Volume One was a surprise for me. The first side, featuring January's "Gasoline" and February's "We All Sing Along," is standard pogo-ready punk from one of the best Jersey bands of all dang time. "Gasoline" is a bitter missive against all of the paranoid, hateful news bites floating on television, radio and the Internet. Drummer Michael McDermott gives the song a driving pulse, fighting off the darkness in vocalist Greg Attonito's vocals. "We All Sing Along" is almost more positive by default. It's another rocker, this time describing how music keeps a cast of characters from completely buckling under the tyranny of the sort of unforgiving world mentioned in "Gasoline." These first two songs complement each other well, both in terms of sound (bitchin'!) and perspective (shit's fucked but we got a song!). While it doesn't quite match the fury and hooks of, say, How I Spent My Summer Vacation or Maniacal Laughter, the A side is still a solid double shot of Bouncing Souls goodness.

The B-side, featuring March's "Airport Security" and the bonus track "A Life Less Ordinary," tweaks the Souls' formula a bit. "Airport Security" is a pretty light, mid-tempo track. It has more in common with mid-`90s alt-rock than, say, Lifetime or Face to Face. It's a decent track, but not terribly memorable. Also, the lyrics have a slightly rambling, directionless bent. "A Life Less Ordinary" is a little more interesting, with a haunting, acoustic tone previously hinted at on the seminal Anchors Aweigh record (and, apparently, the band's recent live shows). Attonito has always been an iconic punk singer to me, articulate and powerful but with a much more relaxed delivery than most punk/hardcore vocalists. "A Life Less Ordinary" feels like a much more natural fit for him. It's a good chill-out song after the record's rock-centric cuts, and the guitar solo at the end is sweet.

Volume One is an all-too-brief listening experience -- I want a new Souls full-length and I want it right now. And, compared to the band's wealthy discography, it doesn't top what they have done before. But it's still the Bouncing Souls singing punk rock songs about struggling against a fucked up American current, and that gives me great comfort. I'm always gonna love these mooks. Happy birthday. Now please fast forward to June so I can get Volume Two.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
ifgabeldiesiwilldie (April 26, 2009)

We All Sing Along may be my new favorite song its the perfect song to dance alone in your room with no shirt on to and it has one of my favorite guitar parts ever there also hasnt been a good story song like it in a while

BipedCasserole (April 23, 2009)

I'm one of those kids who didn't grow up with the Souls and can't get into them now. They seem alright, but I don't think it's anything too outstanding. I wish I did, though. All their fans have such a rabid infatuation with them; makes me feel left out, man!

Jelone (April 22, 2009)

What can I say Bri-Bri? The Souls are one of the first punk bands I fell for. I figured I'd try to give 'em as much love while still be balanced as possible.

Following the transitive property, calling the Bouncing Souls overrated is kind of like being a douche nozzle. It's simple algebra.

Torgo (April 21, 2009)

I haven't heard A Life Less Ordinary but I actually like Airport Security more than the other two tracks, so sue me, they're my favorite band.

misterspike (April 21, 2009)

Boring bullshit from an overrated band

Sir, I will find you and I will fight you in your front yard. True Believe That.

inagreendase (April 21, 2009)

Boring bullshit from an overrated band

3.5 stars is pretty good for "boring bullshit."

telegraphrocks (April 21, 2009)

Excellent, except for "A Life Less Ordinary". That one's just "good".

crackpotdemagogue (April 21, 2009)

I am also feeling the impatience with regards the monthly song thing. And I have to say that I respect the contributions of Arturo to the punk rock art world... but fuck me, he really did crudley butcher the souls logo for the 20th anniversary thing. Looks like a 10 minute photoshop hack-job.

truebeliever (April 21, 2009)

I wasn't too stoked on the bonus track. It was good, but it lacked something compared to the other three songs. But I love the monthly releases, it's amazing that they're releases some of their strongest stuff at this point in their career

WHOOSTIN (April 21, 2009)

Boring bullshit from an overrated band

mattramone (April 21, 2009)

"Gasoline" might be my favorite Bouncing Souls song. There, I said it.

danperrone (April 21, 2009)

the first two tracks are great but "airport security" is so, so bad

BarleyPat (April 21, 2009)

You want a new Souls full length and you want it now? I see what you did there!

I haven't heard any of the new songs, but score is for the Souls who will always be a top 5 (3?) band for me.

mikexdude (April 21, 2009)

The vibe I get from the souls is that they were a gateway band when most were young, and if they weren't, you can't get into them. I am probably wrong, but I never could get into them.

misterspike (April 21, 2009)

Not a vinyl nerd, so I can't comment on "Life Less Ordinary" ... I signed up for the downloads, so I don't think I'll get the "bonus tracks" until December.

That said, "Gasoline" has become one of my fave Souls songs. That and "We All Sing Along" are full of the fist-pumping goodness that has made so many of us fall in love with the Souls over and over again.

Maybe I'm biased. True Believers all the way.

the_other_scott (April 21, 2009)

maybe i'm just not willing to follow current trends or whatever, but i haven't picked this up yet which makes it the first souls release since 1997 that I haven't picked up on the day it came out.

i listen to a lot of vinyl, but i rarely buy new stuff on vinyl, and i don't have the patience to wait a month in between new songs.

i guess i gotta get on top of things and pick this up.

red_eye_inc (April 21, 2009)

Took me longer to read the review than listen to the record

inagreendase (April 21, 2009)

Longest PN review yet for a 7"? I think so.

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