Bouncing Souls - Crucial Moments [EP] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Bouncing Souls

Crucial Moments [EP] (2019)

rise records

It's no secret that for the better part of three decades, The Bouncing Souls have carved a name out for themselves as a punk institution. For me, it's hearing Anchors Aweigh in university, backtracking through their discography and then learning so much about the bonds of brotherhood and how through these resolute connections, great art can be made. To celebrate their time together, Crucial Moments EP now comes our way, and truth be told, it's everything I could have hoped for in terms of the nostalgia it strokes and also, with regard to how it shows this band just can't seem to lose their magic.

Musically, the cheesy start-stop catchy punk rhythm of "Here's To Us" more or less sums up the aura of what this band represents, and that's a bunch of punks who never take themselves too seriously but never get too obscene. Whether in their teens or at 50, they're still capturing that spirit of old and don't mind toasting to the jokes, the highs and the lows. In fact, this is why I consider their bouncy, anthemic melodies so timeless, which you hear on songs like the self-titled opener. Breezy, easy to swallow and also, jams you just can't wait to hear live.

But when it comes to the more aggressive side, I do feel this is something they underplay and which I'm glad producer Will Yip gets to channel them more into. It's also a big plus for him as I can't remember the last time I heard Yip work on stuff that wasn't emo/shoegaze/post-hardcore/grunge all balled up into one, and he brings out a clean, crisp and refreshing sound that's synonymous with the gents. The breakneck hardcore and thick baselines of "4th Avenue Sunrise" stands out out of the six tracks very much, with "1989" also popping with a bit more venom. It's the other side of TBS that makes you really cherish how versatile they can be, even if they do spend a lot of time playing to their strengths. I won't spoil the other songs, but let me reiterate this is a short but sweet knockout punch of bangers that'll make you fall in love, or stay in love with them.

To top it off, they've got a 30th anniversary book that goes well perfectly with the record, and more so, "Favourite Everything". It's a typical punk rock medley from a band I'm glad the stars aligned for me to see last year at Riot Fest because it makes reading this and seeing testimonies from fans, bands (Dave House, Tim Barry, The Gaslight Anthem etc.), and pop culture faces like CM Punk just emphasises that they touched all corners of life, with people walking different paths. Old photos, set lists, concept art, the creation process, band posters etc. -- it's just a lot to take in and a worthwhile trip down memory lane. I can only imagine how it'll be for diehards who were there from Day 1.

All in all, the motto at hand is that TBS were always about finding something good and make it last. It's music, it's friends, it's strangers, it's family. Heck, it's the entire punk community and a call to accept everyone with open arms. Few bands embrace and spread this message genuinely but TBS do, and when you take in the bonus/behind-the-scenes/documentary content on tap here and reconcile them with what you know now, then and hope for in the future, trust me, this entire project is a set of liner notes on how to live life. Standing on solid ground and moving forth through the seas with passion and without fear, and if you're lucky, you'll have the right people with you for 30 years and then some.