Smooth sailing ahead for the Bouncing Souls

By Gus Bode

Deck East Coast punk rockers stay true to themselves in the face of popular culture

It would be incorrect to say it’s been rough waters for The Bouncing Souls, but this punk quartet has weathered some hellish conditions with the major changes to the face of punk rock in their time.

The Souls have been a steadfast band throughout the years – one that doesn’t quite get the recognition it ought to. They’ve witnessed everything in the evolution of punk from straight up hardcore to the bubblegum wannabe-pop-punk of the ’90s and today. All that, and somehow they’ve continued to be ever loyal to their fans, and unwavering in their approach to their style of music.


This task hasn’t come easy. In the past decade, popular culture has posed an authoritative threat where musicians seem to have to compete for popularity to stay afloat at all, and not just in the mainstream anymore.

The Souls have proved a band can survive just fine without topping The Billboard Charts. These punks don’t need the support of pop icon propaganda like Rolling Stone Magazine. And they don’t need the encouragement of Carson Daly and television networks to prove they have what it takes.

The title to The Souls’ seventh album and fourth Epitaph release, “Anchor’s Away,” out on August 26, seems only fitting for their journey through the deep sea of suck that dominates the charts and airwaves. One last reassuring aspect about the Souls is that even in the state of today’s music scene, they show they’ve plunged forward undaunted with yet another reliable release.

These guys haven’t changed their style so much as their haircuts in close to a decade. The only real difference with “Anchors Away” seems to be what made 2001’s “How I Spent My Summer Vacation,” different from 1999’s “Hopeless Romantic.” They’ve made the same changes with every album before in their catalogue. The natural progression of maturity in the lyrical content and a few more harmonious guitar ditties are the only things that make this album different.

Where a lot of people might be turned off by the fact each album has a similar catch to it, I find it comforting. “Anchors Away,” sounds like a characteristic Souls album.

This consistency, considering the corner musicians have pigeonholed themselves into today, is superb. “Anchors Away” is the Bouncing Souls coming through at full force, and not some made-for-radio-version of a band I used to like. The Souls are genius for this, especially in a time where it seems many bands are changing their style to become more radio friendly.

I really hate to admit it, but for an example of the latter please reference:A.F.I., Alkaline Trio, and Less Than Jake’s new albums that were all released this year. Call it what you want, call it what you will, but they and many others have begun to suck.


The Souls got their start in the 80’s writing songs about getting drunk, girls, bike riding, and just being young and disruptive. Their song-writing style is storytelling that’s easy to relate to. The Souls have kept their lyrical style quite the same with the new album. They still write songs about getting drunk, falling in love and their beloved bikes. “Anchors Away” is packed full of the sometimes off-key crooning of lead singer Greg Attonito, lyrics that are from time to time hardly decipherable and the ever-traditional punk-rock chords.

The new album leaves old fans feeling right at home, not wanting to claw out their own eyes. It opens in traditional Souls fashion with “Apartment 5-F” in that fun loving, positive, upbeat and catchy fashion that dominates their characteristic sound.

Track two slows it down a bit and captures the overall tone of the album with “Kids and Heroes,” a ballad-like song that’s heavy with lyrical content. From there, the Souls plunge forward with deeper song writing than that of “How I Spent My Summer Vacation,” riddled with thought-provoking lyrics that only proves our bike-riding boys are growing up.

“The songs are more developed, not just lyrically, but a sound beneath the surface ever-growing, ever-building on what we found that was good and made last,” the Souls said in their press release.

The only beef I had with the entire album was when I hit track nine, “Night Train.” This song has a BoDean like feel to it. Those who don’t remember the BoDeans, think “Party of Five” theme song (and proceed to gag).

However much it angers me that there’s a song containing remnants of a horrid ’90s band, the rest of the album is full of the wonder that is the Souls. It’s even increasingly pleasing at the end with a secret track, “The Fall Song.”

These punk veterans have been out to sea for a while rocking as far as the eye can see. If the Souls keep up their unspoken never-ending battle against pop culture, they certainly won’t be dropping anchor anytime soon.