The Bouncing Souls
The Bouncing Souls



by Hep Kat USER (121 Reviews)
May 27th, 2006 | 8 replies

Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

New Jersey. The Garden State. My place of residence for most of my life. Sure, it has its flaws, but on the whole, it’s a pretty nice place to live. I mean, why wouldn’t you want to live in a land of strip clubs and mini-malls" Well, let’s put it this way: why wouldn’t you want to live in a state that’s played host to so many kickass musical acts" And no, I’m not talking about the recent “emo” explosion of bands from here (My Chemical Romance, Thursday, etc.) I’m think more along the lines of Frank Sinatra. Well, actually I was really thinking along the lines of Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, The Misfits, and The Bouncing Souls. Oh yeah, speaking of those bouncing entities, let’s get some focus on the point of this review: their 1997 self-titled release.

You see, The Bouncing Souls were hardly a household name in their earliest days. Their first album The Good, the Bad, and the Argyle was released in 1994 on Chunksaah records. Despite less than stellar sales, the Souls followed up with Maniacal Laughter in ‘96. This was their big break, as it led to a high profile tour with punk trio Youth Brigade (the Los Angeles incarnation of the band, not to be confused with the Hardcore band from Washington, D.C.). It was during this tour that the Souls caught the attention of Epitaph Records, who immediately signed them. A little less than a year later, and The Bouncing Souls was unleashed upon the world.

This album is everything pop-punk should be: fast, catchy, and full to the brim with attitude. If you can overlook the relatively minor low production points, you’ll find that The Bouncing Souls is well worth your time to listen to. Lyrics about partying and having fun cast a great, uplifting mood on the album. The Bouncing Souls want you to “bounce” along to their music (a point that they’ve made blatantly obvious over the years). Every song is extremely concise (most clock in at just over one minute, with none break the three minute mark), making The Bouncing Souls a very tight moving, albeit fast album. This really isn’t a drawback, as all the songs are so fun to listen to, that you’ll probably want to move on after only a short while anyway. Personally, I think more pop-punk should follow by this example. Short, catchy, memorable songs are (in my opinion) superior to long (-ish), catchy, memorable songs (at least inside this genre; anywhere else the opposite is most likely true).

While many may complain that the songs are too fast and too similar to leave an impression, I hardly think that there’s anything wrong with that. This is an energetic party album: it’s designed to be fun. And with such songs as “Party at 174,” “East Coast! Fuck You!,” “Holiday at Cocktail Lounge,” and “Whatever I Want (Whatever That Is),” are the stand-out tracks on The Bouncing Souls. Songs like “Serenity” and “Kate Is Great” showcase early signs of how The Bouncing Souls would mature into more intelligent, thoughtful songwriters (this would take a little while). All the other songs are purely for fun, which is great, because they actually are fun.

The lyrics featured on The Bouncing Souls are nonsensical (big surprise). You won’t really find any deep hearted, emotion-laden poetic masterpieces here. Instead, you’ll just hear a lot about booze, and parties, with a lot of “ha’s,” “rah’s,” “whoa’s,” “oh’s,” and “oi’s.” The music isn’t exactly a technical wonder, either. The guitar riffs are basic power chords and open chords, with simple (yet effective) breakdowns. The basslines are simple, yet catchy. The drumming is powerful and hard, yet not unlike other things you’ve heard before. So what keeps The Bouncing Souls from falling into a dull category of mediocrity alongside other mid-90s pop-punk albums" Attitude. It’s as simple as that. The Bouncing Souls oozes with attitude, from the song titles to the album art.

All in all, The Bouncing Souls’ self-titled release is a solid effort. However, it’s not without its shortcomings. Some songs are too short, and don’t develop quite as quickly (or as efficiently) as they should. Also, many of the songs sound the same. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just exactly make one want to listen to this album over and over again (as pop-punk albums are designed to be). In addition to this, as I mentioned before, the production values aren’t the best. Vocals can be a little muddy at times, as can the instruments. These are all minor quibbles, though, and are easily overlooked. The Bouncing Souls is a great album. While it’s not the best thing you’ve ever heard, it’s not the worst, either. Hell, it may wind up being the most whimsical thing you’ve heard. Give it a listen.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Two-Headed Boy
May 27th 2006


I have How I spent My Summer Vacation and I have yet to listen to it. Nice review, buddy. Perfect length.

The Jungler
May 27th 2006


I agree with AV8RS, perfect length. Great job.

I don't listen to The Bouncing Souls, and I don't think I will start soon.

May 27th 2006


great review. I havent heard this album, but I think Hopeless Romantic and How I Spent My Summer Vacation are all great. The Bouncing Souls are a great party band.

May 27th 2006


Enjoy the band, love the album. Cracked and Low Life are the high points on this, but it's stil no match for How I Spent My Summer Vacation.

May 28th 2006


Album Rating: 2.0

Great job on the review, although I disagree with the rating.

Some of these songs feel like they were put together in about five minutes. The first three tracks are solid, especially Cracked but the problem is that almost all of these songs sound similar and the album is only twenty six minutes long.

Angry Balled Fists!
May 29th 2006


HISMSV is an absolutley brilliant record.

I don't have this one.

June 4th 2006


this was my first introduction to the souls. Its a decent album, id say about a 3 but its a solid pop punk record.

Hopeless Romantic is one of my favorites..

April 22nd 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

Such a fun album, not their best or worst for that matter, but still really bloody good!

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