New Bouncing Souls. Alright. It is a bit hard for me to look critically at a Bouncing Souls release. I am a bit of a, I guess, fanboy for this band. Got a Souls tattoo and everything. But, yeah.
So, Comet is the first proper full length since 2006’s generally awesome Gold Album.* So, this has been the longest gap between full lengths. In that gap, they left Epitaph and signed to Rise Records (well, Rise and their own Chunksaah). That said, this is a fairly good introduction to the Rise Records audience. But, similarly to Hot Water Music, I don’t see this record changing any minds.
This is a nice 10 song collection. It has a lot of the melodic punk rock that the band helped popularize in the 90s. Honestly, this record is Bouncing Souls by the book. There are the quick, sing along punk songs, two kind of goofy songs, a random ska thing, and slower punk ballads. It is a fair representation of everything the band is known for. That plays as both a positive and negative thing.
For example, “Baptized” kicks off the record in a great fashion. For the people who were doubting the band’s ability to still make a killer punk song, it shows they are more than capable. It is good, but it sounds like a song cut from Anchors Aweigh more than it does a fresh, new song. Honestly, the record seems like a mash of things from Anchors Aweigh and The Gold Album. This isn’t a bad thing in general. Those records were fantastic, but there is kind of a rehash thing happening. “Static” is a song about the state of music on radio, but it doesn’t hit with the same level of awesome that “Sing Along Forever” did. Basically, this record keeps hitting with good songs that make me want to go back to their old albums and hear great songs. I don’t know.
“We Love Fun” and “DFA” are songs that should have never made the album. They are totally joke songs. While the band has a history of having a goofy song or two on a record, these two feel more like filler than fun. The problem here is that their previous full lengths are usually between 12 to 16 songs. It is hard to overlook two filler songs on a 10 song album. Then we have “Coin Toss Girl,” which is a generally good love song. But, it totally cribs a riff from Springsteen’s “Born To Run.”
While I had issues with Bill Stevenson’s production on the last Hot Water Music record, he does great here. Honestly, everything is mixed well. The Pete’s guitar is high in the mix, but Bryan Kienlen’s bass sounds right there too. Michael McDermott continues to show how great of a drummer he is. Greg Attonito sounds really good too. His vocals sound almost better than they ever have.
To close this overly long review out, I say this is a good record. It never quite tops their older stuff, but the good stuff is good. I’m coming off as super negative about this record, but I really do love this band. Maybe the fact that I am so attached to the old stuff gives me a bias against this? But, check it out.
*Ghosts On The Boardwalk isn’t a proper full length. It was a compilation of their 2009 20th Anniversary Singles Collection.
The Bouncing Souls