Bouncing Souls - Live Review
by Travis Becker
Good anthemic punk is like ice cold domestic beer. There may not always be much to it, but you can consume a lot of it and it usually makes you feel better than when you started with it. With the 2005 release of Live on Chunksaah records, the Bouncing Souls serve up an entire case of sing-along choruses and catchy melodies spanning an evening's worth of punk rock binge drinking. The band crams twenty-nine tracks into two CD's, hitting most of the highlights of their decade-plus long career. They're not rewriting evolutionary theory here-a steady diet of bouncy bass lines, eighth notes, and fist-in-the-air vocals informs the bulk of the release, but what they do, they do awfully well. It truly sounds like everyone in the audience is singing along with every word, and why not? The Bouncing Souls excel in a kind of modern nostalgia that seems to grip kids earlier and earlier these days. These are kids for whom the original Playstation is equivalent to the Big Chill. Still, it's hard to ignore the feeling the band invokes on songs like "Hopeless Romantic" and "That Song" of being somewhere at sometime or other in one's life. Live plays out like a séance invoking the spirit of the Descendents with the fun energy of NOFX and an east coast mentality bred in their home state of New Jersey that never feels more than a trip over the GW away from hardcore. Bouncing Souls play Peter Pan music, music that never grows up, but shouldn't.
Live as a release is very solid. For those looking to create a Bouncing Souls collection in one purchase, this is the way to go. The band is tight live and the production is solid, making this a worthy stand in for any of the bands studio releases. This is the kind of live record, whose songs eventually become your favorite version, just because they have that little extra something. For fans of the band, it's a must, in fact, it seems tailored to the band's fan base and its release on Chunksaah rather than Epitaph leads one to believe that the group may have had that kind of "keepsake for the fans" intent in mind with its release. Certainly it won't expand the band's fan base in any meaningful way, save the odd younger brother who steals it from out of an older brother's car and is born into the spirit of punk by it. Praise the Lord and pass the Miller Lite.
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