Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Bouncing Souls Anchors Aweigh (2003) Review

The Bouncing Souls "Anchors Aweigh" (2003) Cover
Let’s go back to the year 2003, that’s when I first started at the Art Institute of California for my bachelor’s degree. In August of that year, a new record from The Bouncing Souls came out. The previous record that they had was great, but this time around, the band was able to put together a very good mix of songs, and a studio album that was just stellar in my view.

Released on Epitaph records, this album was a little different from their past work, and something that I still love to this day. The Bouncing Souls “Anchors Aweigh” is a dynamic punk rock record with some great tunes, and some stellar lyrical elements that still ring in my head from long bus trips I used to take to get to work and school.

New School Punk Rock With Melody First

One of the things that I love about The Bouncing Souls was their attention to melody. Their early career was all about speed, like many punk rock bands coming from the east coast. But with the shift of records along their career, they decided to focus on more melody, than just pure speed. That’s where this record really comes through to shine, as it starts with a speedy riff here and there, but melts into a focus of bigger rock sounds. The opening track “Apartment 5F” for instance, is a mid-tempo song that leads into slower options, but with vocals and choruses that makes you want to sing along.

This is a record that has the top 9 tracks being absolutely amazing, then dwindles a little before “I’m From There” jumps into another gear, and sends you on your way. The band drew deep in the lyrical department, citing more than just angst here, and it shows. “Kids and Heroes”, “New Day”, Born Free”, “Sing Along Forever”, “Simple Man” and “I Get Lost” are all great songs that showcase a maturity in the punk rock world that you don’t always get from bands in the genre.

Life and Beauty Throughout The Sounds

One of the most incredible things about The Bouncing Souls is that they are gentle at times, while they can turn into a frenetic band. This album is not frenetic, though, it’s controlled throughout. The drums, bass, and guitar work are all stellar, and work with the traditional sounds that you’d expect from 2000s pop punk. But it’s the vocals that shine. Greg Attonito’s vocals are a strong component of how well this album works, because he can bring about so much melody through his vocals on top of Michael McDermott’s drumming, Bryan Kienlen’s bass guitar work, and Pete Steinkopf’s guitars as well. The mix is so well done, that you start to really feel that you’re in the studio with them, recording this live through the mix, as it sounds mono, but of course it’s stereo, because it’s 2003 after all.

Positive Lyrical Components

One of the things that you are going to find with “Anchors Aweigh”, is that it’s positive. The lyrics are positive, and focus on life in general. They talk about the world around the singer, the bass player, and the rest of the band. They reference the scene in “Todd’s Song”, and “I’m From There”, as well. It’s something that is definitely introspective, and different from other punk rockers that were putting out high speed records in 2003. The 47-minute record has some stellar lines, and some things that absolutely impressed me as a young adult. “Simple Man” is one of my favorites, to this day, as well as “Night Train”, and “Sing Along Forever”. This is not a brash punk rock record, not a lot of cussing, or raised fists against the world, which is something to consider overall.

I give The Bouncing Souls “Anchors Aweigh” a 4 out of 5.

The Bouncing Souls has created a stellar record here, and it’s not something you want to miss out on. If you were to ask me about which record from the New Jersey natives is best to consider, it’s this one. While I loved “How I Spent My Summer Vacation”, this seemed to be a step above the past, which proves the veterans of punk still had a lot to say in 2003, and it still rings true today. It’s one hell of a record, and it’s near perfect if you ask me.

You can buy The Bouncing Souls “Anchors Aweigh”, stream it, download it, or just pay attention to other records by clicking here. You can enjoy a punk rock feast with 47 minutes of strong punk from The Bouncing Souls.

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