Comet, released on Rise records, is the Bouncing Souls 9th Studio Album. A mix of all the familiar souls styles; it shines bright at moments but unlike a comet the album suffers from a lack of direction.
Rise records who, in the past, mainly focused on hardcore, synth based metal, metalcore & i’mgettingoldcore bands have caused quite the controversy of late. Making a strong statement on the direction of the label by putting out bands previously well under the radar of their regular listeners. First came UK clash city rockers Sharks with No Gods followed up by the fantastic Exister on a 2 album deal with Hot Water Music and most recently working with New Jersey veterans Bouncing Souls on their latest release. The punk rock cross-over of Rise has left many fan’s saying they feel alienated by a label that for a long time was a one trick pony. To gage just how much this is pissing off sections of the Rise fan base simply take a look on the YouTube comments on those bands video’s via Rise records account. You’ll see the souls called a boy band, Sharks compared to the pop indie wank of The Kooks and this humbling comment from ‘Samurai Mo’ on some band with a funny name. Hot…Water…Music?
“Not bad, I don’t get the name of your band but I shall torrent your album and if it’s good ill buy the album.”
Criticism of a label that branches out is nothing new, most of us know that and many are arguing rises case angered by the lack of respect shown for the godfathers of modern punk rock but maybe they are a little too eager to judge. Just because a band is significant in one person’s eyes doesn’t mean it has to be in another’s, right? With all this in mind Comet is an unlikely candidate for winning over new fans in the way that Anchors Aweigh or How I Spent My Summer Vacation might of. Though, I suspect that wasn’t the reason Rise signed Bouncing Souls. If you ran your own label wouldn’t you want to work your heroes?
The adoration for souls in the punk scene is legendary. Drop in at a punk rock show, anywhere and you’ll more than likely see at least one person with a Bouncing Souls tattoo etched into their skin and with a back catalogue like theirs it’s easy to understand why. Sure, The Gold Record had the ‘Pizza Song’ and Ghost’s on The Boardwalk fell flat but it was a staggered release, more a collection of singles than an real record, so it didn’t really matter so much and besides the next studio album would be a return to form, for sure?
The opening track ‘Baptized’ start’s of strong. The guitar crisply thrashes away and runs with the pace of earlier Anchors Aweigh tracks like ‘Born Free’ but it does miss some of the lyrical kick you’d expect from the band who’s usual, rabble rousing, lyrics are meaningful and at times inspiring.
“Static” which has been chosen as the first single never really gets going and leaves you wondering when the big chorus’s that the soul’s are renowned for will be introduced?
“Coin Toss Girl” goes someway to answering that question and when Greg breaks from his spoken voice to his full bellied roar it has the usual uplifting impact. With a slow but spirited groove it’s infectious and a welcome change in the album. If you’re a fan of the less serious side of the Brunswick trio and you enjoyed tracks like “Ole” and “Badass” then you might appreciate “We Love Fun” if you don’t and find those tracks incredibly annoying and agree they wouldn’t be out of place on Mickey Mouse’s Club House then steer clear of this one, for the love of punk.
“Ship in a Bottle” is one of the better tracks, it’s typical trials of friendship, positive filler lyrics but it’s heartfelt and something about the delivery of this one in particular sets it apart from some of the other tracks “Hey, Let’s start something and throw it all into the wind” and its accompanying melody shows the band’s knack for quality song writing something much appreciated in this collection of songs that more often than not disappoints.
It’s not an awful album, it’s just nothing to shout out about and it’s easy to see why many younger Rise junkies or kids unaware of this branch of music would find it boring and well, maybe it is, but we don’t care because it’s the souls and we love them.
Comet is still available at Chunksaah Records HERE and at Rise Records HERE. Go and check it out for yourself!
Follow: @BouncingSoulsNJ @Chunksaah @RiseRecords