Everybody’s trying to grow up these days. From Blink 182
to Justin Timberlake, the music industry is filled with artists
attempting to gain some more credibility and establish themselves
as “serious” musicians. On their new album, Anchors
, The Bouncing Souls fall prey to the trend.

On their sixth full length, the Souls maintain their anthemic,
sing-along sound, but the subject matter has definitely shifted.
Gone are songs like “I Like Your Mom” and “The
Toilet Song,” replaced by songs like “The Day I Turned
My Back On You” and “Anchors Aweigh.” On
“Night Train,” a pseudo power ballad and,
unfortunately, not a Guns n’ Roses cover, singer Greg
Attonitoi says “goodbye to me and you / goodbye to the life
we knew,” a theme that runs throughout the album. Attonitoi
says goodbye to everything while pining for the better days of his
punk rock youth spent drinking beer in the van and trying to make
it to the show on time.

The Bouncing Souls never sought to make challenging,
experimental music. They’ve built their whole career on
honest, back-to-basics punk rock, and with this album they come
through again. The direction toward a more adult subject matter
does make the songs feel somewhat contrived, though. Lyrics like
“She’s having a change of heart / Without a word
everything falls apart,” on “Better Days,”
won’t get Attonitoi into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame,
but are well intentioned. The band has maintained its sound to the
point where the core audience will definitely not feel alienated by
the new release.

The Bouncing Souls have created a name for themselves in the
scene, through multiple Warped Tour appearances and shows with
scene heavy hitters like The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, NOFX and The
Descendants. This record will only cement that reputation.
It’s an adequate batch of pop-punk songs, played as fast and
as hard as ever, with a reflective outlook on life. Anchors
will do little to convert the critics, but for fans of
the pop-punk genre, there’s a lot to be found in the steady
work of these veterans.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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