The Bouncing Souls
The Bouncing Souls will always be an important band in my life. Not just because they were my gateway band to punk rock and some truly great music, but because when I put on some of their records, they still manage to move me after all these years. These would be their Maniacal Laughter, the Selftitled, and Hopeless Romantic. Track for track, these albums are simply classics and monsters of punk rock.
But I started noticing something wrong with the Souls around their Summer Vacation album. I know that it’s an album near and dear to many peoples’ hearts, but something about it, maybe its sound, the musical approach, or its slick speed was something I never quite warmed up to. The great songs (Gone notwithstanding) were simply not there for me, and as the years progressed I started seeing one of my favorite bands spiral downwards into a shadow of their former selves. Sure there was the occasional good track, but the magic of their previous albums simply wasn’t there. Anchors Aweigh worked for me after several listens, and their Anti-Flag split was a hopeful release, but their Gold Record, Ghosts on the Boardwalk and Comet showed a band in decline. I simply had to quit on the Bouncing Souls after a while because my relationship with this them had gotten abusive.
What was it about the Bouncing Souls that had turned them so sour? Was the speed of the songs augmented by drummer Michael McDermott or the substitution of their sweet melodies for downright yelling by vocalist Greg Antonito? I wasn’t quite sure, but what I did know is that their new formula had stopped working for me.
And now we have Simplicity.
Simplicity is a new leaf in the Bouncing Souls history. They’re with a new label, they have a new drummer, and best of all, they’ve got that old magic back.
I have no idea what they did, but the songs on Simplicity are both tough and chock full of that Bouncing Souls charm I’ve come to know and love. It seems like, yes, they’ve slowed down a little, they’re focusing more on melodies, and these songs have that goofy-yet-sweet feel that made us fall in love with them in the first place. Coming in at just under 30 minutes, the boys have figured out how to come in, take their shots and leave, plain and simple.
The folks at Rise sure know how to put a vinyl package together. Having pressed multiple variants of this record, here we are highlighting the half clear half red version. Simplicity comes in a gatefold package, with download coupon, several inserts and a black sleeve. All signs point to Rise taking their vinyl releases seriously and it shows with this Bouncing Souls album.
Simplicity is nothing short of impressive and although it’s not quite at the level of their older pre-Summer Vacation records, it’s the closest they’ve come in 15 years. The boys are back on the right track and this record simply brings tears to my eyes.
Get your vinyl right from Rise!