The Bouncing Souls

Live

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The Bouncing Souls have never been a band to mince words or music. This live collection starts with the high-octane and rapid-fire "Here We Go." And from that moment on, it is one loud party punk track after another that bands like Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly, or any other hardcore punk band worth its salt would aspire to. With a sparse few clocking in at over three minutes, the songs are crisp and extremely punchy, particularly the oomph that comes during "Sing Along Forever" and the hellish, old-school punk feeling on "Say Anything." Unfortunately, some of these come across not quite as strong and just frantic romps, particularly "That Song," which thankfully changes gears after the chorus. The group, led by singer Greg Attonitoi, is intent on delivering rowdy punk fans everything they can handle, but the melody changes during "Cracked" show a band that is still very tight at the same time. And unlike several "live" albums, this particular two-CD set from a Philadelphia show has all the feel of that -- no slick overdubs, just punk rock the way it should be played. The first true highlight is "Kids and Heroes," which causes an instant singalong while "Kids" outdoes its predecessor, upping the ante and taking things to a fantastic, almost feverish pitch. Later on they surpass this effort with "Night on Earth." It's as if the group has done everything that groups like Green Day and Sum 41 have done but never reached similar heights of stardom, especially with songs like "Punx in Vegas," "Private Radio," and their earliest penned song, "Joe Lies." Disc two features a guest appearance by Johnny X on "The Ballad of Johnny X," which sounds like a cross between Rancid and Social Distortion. A few songs are misses, though, including the "emo"-lite-flavored "Anchors Aweigh" and the ska-tinted "Kate Is Great." These are the few exceptions, however, as the infectious punk rock nuggets like "Hopeless Romantic," the hook-riddled "Lamar Vannoy," and the fantastic "Gone" soar from the onset. While at times it's just a touch uneven with "Oi!"-saturated tracks like "Manthem," this album might be even better than seeing them live.

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