Album Review: The Bouncing Souls – Volume 2

The Bouncing Souls reimagine themselves on part two of a set with, um, no part one…

Album Review: The Bouncing Souls – Volume 2
Mischa Pearlman

Oh, those rascally Bouncing Souls. Over three decades into their career, the New Jersey punks are clearly still having as much fun as they ever were. At least, that’s what this newest record suggests. For a start, they’re pulling our legs with the title, because there was never a Volume One – unless you count the entirety of their career to date. Because Volume Two takes 10 songs from their extensive back catalogue and reimagines them in a more gentle, slow fashion. It also adds a brand-new song to the equation.

While these aren’t wholly acoustic reinterpretations, they certainly dial back their source material drastically. Take opener Argyle. On 1996’s second record, Maniacal Laughter, it’s a charmingly sloppy, jittery, breakneck fast punk rock song propelled by the reckless innocence of youth. Here, however, it’s all near-soothing guitars and crashing drums that make it almost unrecognisable from its original incarnation. Hopeless Romantic – originally a blistering rush of unguarded, reckless feeling – feels more jaded here, a little bit sadder, a little more hopeless. Even songs that were already wistful double up on the melancholy – as if Kids And Heroes wasn’t already pained enough in the first place, here it’s positively heartbreaking.

Yet while this is a record that’s very deliberately looking back at the past, its songs have been recast as if they were written by who the band are now, giving them an extra dimension both musically and emotionally. And then there’s Ghosts On The Boardwalk, the new song, which rounds everything all off in a flourish of euphoric despondency. Written at the end of the sessions for this record, it fits in perfectly with the 10 tracks that preceded it and highlights the timeless, moving nature of their music – now, then and in between.

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: The Gaslight Anthem, Dave Hause, The Menzingers

Volume Two is released on October 23 via Pure Noise Records

Check out more:

The best of Kerrang! delivered straight to your inbox three times a week. What are you waiting for?