The Bouncing Souls, those fucking New Jersey mooches are back with their 10th full length album Simplicity, and I’ve cautiously optimistic about this one for quite some time. The Souls have been my favorite band since I was just an angst filled NJ teen many years ago, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’ve been disappointed into their descent to mellowness over the past few full length albums that started on The Gold Record and peaked with Ghosts On The Boardwalk. Sure, their last release Comet wasn’t a bad album by any means, but nothing from it really stuck with me and I saw it as pretty forgettable overall. In the words of my main man Professor Farnsworth: Good news everyone! I think Simplicity is their best work since Anchors Aweigh and older punk fans looking for a return to that era will be pleased.
Like the name implies, Simplicity is a bit of a return to form for the band, keeping things simple with their melodic and sing along punk anthems. The songs are stripped down as well, with 13 songs clocking in around 29 minutes. Musically it feels very reminiscent of their “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” and “Anchors Aweigh” era, possibly due to the fact that the Souls worked with John Seymour again who produced both Summer Vacation and Anchors.
There’s plenty of classic Bouncing Souls on the album, songs like openers Drive All Night and Euphoria are incredibly catchy punk anthems you can’t help but sing along to. With Digital Twilight Zone and Wanna Be Bored are both fast paced songs dealing with the absurdity of living in such a fast paced, connected modern world and asking for a bit more… yes you guessed it, simplicity. Even the slower songs like “Satellite” and “Gravity” are surprisingly catchy and fit right in the album. Album closer “Up To Us” is one of the best tracks on Simplicity, and is an ode to fallen musicians that puts it right up there with other sing-along anthems like “Gone” and “For All The Unheard”.
There is definitely an energy in Simplicity that has been lacking in their past few releases. In interviews, singer Greg talked about how this time around they wrote songs that they actually wanted to play live, and about how they had fun writing and recording this album. It seems like with Simplicity the band genuinely likes and feels passionate about the songs, along with having a new drummer re-energized the band as well. Not only is it a step in the right direction, it’s one I can listen to regularly along with all their classic albums. Kudos guys.
Let me know your thoughts on the Simplicity in the comments.