- by Nate Hennon
The first time I saw The Bouncing Souls, it was 2001. It was at an indoor skate park inside a mall. A makeshift stage was set-up in the middle of a half-pipe and the audience stood right outside in the street skate 'section'. Even though the show was for less than hundred people and the set-up was less than ideal, the Souls played as if it was a huge festival. They were effortless in their delivery and seemed to be playing from a musical pocket, specifically their own. The best part of the show was not the songs themselves or being so close to a band I adored, but the subtle interplay between the members. Pete (guitar) and Bryan (bass) were changing up riffs ever so slightly in their most favorite songs while exchanging knowing nods to each other as if this type of thing would occur during band practice back in their home state of New Jersey. Greg was friendly, inviting and immaculately dressed in a shirt and tie. Everything you would want out of a Souls show.
Even though The Bouncing Souls had a line-up change in 2013 when long-time drummer Michael McDermott left the band, their tenth album, "Simplicity" is classic Souls. From Bryan's spot-on bass tone and rhythms on “Driving All Night" and "Euphoria", to Pete's guitar riffs and signature sound on "Rebel Song" and "Up To Us". The addition of George Rebelo seems to have reinvigorated these veterans.
Although Greg's voice is exactly how one would expect it to sound, one downfall to this album is The Bouncing Souls' lyrics are beginning to show their age. A handful of songs refers to the short-attention spans and the too-polished look of modern day technology. If The Bouncing Souls were not such great songwriters, "Digital Twilight Zone" would come off as old men telling kids to get off their lawns.
Because this album is closer to The Bouncing Souls core sound, one could say they are retreading old musical roads. This feeling would not be too off the mark. However, if the Bouncing Souls want to journey down old roads, great! They made rad music in the past and "Simplicity" proves that these 25-year punk rock veterans still have something to prove.