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

Bouncing Souls

20th Anniversary Series: Volume Three [7 inch] (2009)


The year is almost over, and with it, the Bouncing Souls' 20th anniversary bonanza. The band played a few birthday gigs, filmed a variety special, and is almost finished debuting a new digital download on the first of every month. 20th Anniversary Series: Volume Three collects three more of those downloads on vinyl (mine's on tour-only green with black and red splatter, suckaz) plus another bonus track. The series thus far has been strong, but Volume Three might be the best yet.

Volume One and Two followed a similar formula -- two punk rock tunes on the first side, a mid-tempo and a mellow acoustic number on the flipside. Volume Three ditches that idea. "Ghosts on the Boardwalk" opens with some haunting feedback that saturates the whole song. Given that it's a song about summer and the seven-inch is coming out in September, "Ghosts" takes on an appropriately wistful tone in the vein of Hopeless Romantic's "Night on Earth." Its companion on the A side, "Boogie Woogie Downtown" is the numb twin to Volume One's "Gasoline." The song is similarly bitter at the world, but the music's subdued style is a departure from the band's raucous material. It's a logical followup to "Ghosts on the Boardwalk," but man is it a bummer.

"Badass" opens the B side and completely washes away every melancholic thought anyone ever had ever. A fist-pumper akin to a less synth-soaked version of Team America: World Police's "America, Fuck Yeah," the song lists things that are badass. This includes Bruce Lee, snakes, vocal solos and The Pete's mom. It's a little out of place compared to the rest of the seven-inch, but it's a really fun song, so shut up. As for bonus track "Uke Chek Girl," it's exactly what Souls fan should expect: Maniacal Laughter's "Quick Chek Girl" performed on a ukele. But this isn't exactly "Souls Go Hawaiian!", although that would be a totally sweet movie. Rather, frontman Greg Attonito gives the song a somber makeover. It's a chill way to end an already relatively placid record.

While three-quarters of its songs were released over the summer, Volume Three works better as an autumnal record. It's a little nostalgic, both for company and kung-fu movies. But regardless of the season, it's still good.