The Bouncing Souls have been around for quite some time. The NYC and New Jersey pop punk band sure has covered a lot of ground in their career. In a field that can be very difficult to stand out in, they have done just that. Between their vocals, guitar and bass tones, and overall sound, they are quite easy to recognize. How I Spent My Summer Vacation
is filled with some of the bands’ most famous songs and the sound they are known for.
The Bouncing Souls…
Greg – Vocals
The Pete – Guitar
Bryan – Bass
Michael – Drums
From the catchy hooks, the ohhh’s, the thumping bass, some fine sounding riffs, and the overall clean production of the record, The Bouncing Souls do what they do darn well. Fast and upbeat songs for the most part, but variety to keep plenty interested. That Song
opens the record on a good note with some immediate vocals over guitar. The drums and bass come in and the Soul’s trademark sound is heard. One very distinctive trait about The Bouncing Souls is their bass tone; it is heard very clearly throughout the album. While not always playing the most complicated line, Bryan always seems to know what to do to add that little something to every song and helps to keep everything tight. Some of their very fitting pop punk riffing is shown as the energy stays high throughout the opener. Private Radio
opens with a nice little riff and keeps the same energy as the opener. Greg’s vocal delivery is a stand out, his singing and lyrics flow very smoothly. The layered singing on the chorus works great and adds a very nice touch to the song. A little small clean break is heard before the song ends with its fantastic chorus.
marks one of their more popular songs and with good reason too. A great riff is played after the vocal guitar intro. The lyrics focus on standing up for what you believe.
Well you can fight or you can run
Hide under a rock till the war is won
Play it safe and don't make a sound
But not us we won't back down
The second verse is composed of bass and vocals, working quite effectively with the flow. Filled with the signature ahhhh’s the chorus will be in your head for days. While barely over 2:30, True Believers
has a lot to offer. Better Life
is a pretty typical song for the genre, but all in all is average at the very least. Michael has some superb fitting rolls placed throughout the song adding a great touch to it.
The Something Special
is the first song with a mellower feel to it. The vocals in the intro work great leading into another good chorus. Once again the vocal harmonization works fantastic and adds to a very powerful feeling chorus. The guitar is simple throughout with some nice riff and chord progressions as the focal point of the song is in the vocals.
opens softly with vocals and a bass line. The vocal intros are slightly annoying as a result of the over use, but they still are well executed. The ever so famous “ahh’s” are heard loud and clear in the song. Throughout the song the bass is very enjoyable as Bryan shines with his unique tone. Lifetime
adds another new touch to the record opening with a nice mellow guitar riff with bass playing some great rhythm over it. Starting off slow the drums quickly build up and this song turns into a burst of energy. The drums pound throughout the verse and mellow out in the pre chorus. The tempo changes are performed very smoothly with the vocals shining on top of them. Ending in typical fashion with the dominant bass and energetic drums the intro guitar riff is repeated as a very enjoyable song comes to a close.
If you ever played a Tony Hawk video game years ago this next track might sound familiar. Manthem
comes in typical Jersey punk style, opening with drums and complete with the oi’s chanting through the chorus. The chorus itself is quite a fun sing-a-long.
He's my friend he's my alibi
My accessory to the crime
A bond that will never die
Till the end of time
I believe Pete sings the second verse which adds some great variety to the song. Overall this is a very memorable song about good times and true friendship.
opens with a very mediocre riff. The rest of the song just does not spark a whole lot, typical Soul’s sound which has been heard throughout the record. A much improved riff is played between verses but overall this song does not have a lot to offer. Thankfully it is very short, ending before the 2 minute mark. Streetlight Serenade
comes in with quite a different sound. A soft sounding riff is played with some quiet drums over top. The tempo change is very welcome at this time on the CD, as a mixture of sound types is shown. Unfortunately, it is over before one really completely gets into its groove.
adds some new elements to the record, including a clean guitar intro which appears multiple times in the song. The verse and chorus format are very similar to the style of the rest of the album for the most part, but The Bouncing Souls have perfected it and know how to create an enjoyable song using their formula. No Comply
sounds as if it is going to be filler and does not really venture out a whole lot from its first impression. Once again the guitar riff in between verses is noticeably enjoyable but the rest of the song seems very bland at this point in the record.
As the first notes of Gone
are heard, it is official the record is going off on a good note. The intro riff is very enjoyable as are the rolls courtesy of Michael. Between the palm mute pattern of the guitar, the fantastic bass line, and Greg’s vocals, the verses are quite the treat. The drum build up before the chorus works very fluently and an exceptionally memorable chorus is played. Greg’s delivery while repeating gone
is just very distinct. When the song goes down to just bass and vocals it is executed and placed absolutely perfectly, creating a great effect leading up to the final chorus. The phaser on the guitar as it fads out is a very cool touch as the album comes to a close.
In a field where it can be difficult to stand out in, The Bouncing Souls seem to do so quite easily. While a bit repetitive a times, How I Spent My Summer Vacation
is a very good album that shows some new sounds the band is capable of. As four members, the Souls work excellently together as they shape up some extremely memorable songs.
- great, distinct vocals
- superior production
- though only 2 axes, bass and guitar teamwork is commendable
- variety in songs is shown
- a very pleasant feel to the record as a whole
- some very short songs
- can be slightly repetitive at times
While some bands seem to rely on individual talent, a vibe of large amounts of group work with one another is received from this album. At the end of the day, The Bouncing Souls do what they do quite well, and this album shows it.
Final Rating: 4/5