Bouncing Souls Anchors Aweigh

Like the energiser bunnies of melodic East Coast stomp-core, New Jersey's Bouncing Souls just keep going and going. Their latest disc, the first since 2001's How I Spent My Summer Vacation, finds the quartet up to their usual tricks but with a few new twists. While retaining the bouncy melodic garage punk they are best known and loved for, Anchors Aweigh finds the band incorporating more mood and atmosphere in their songs and production. Either a product of having been doing the same thing for the better part of a decade or inspired by a new-found maturity, their songwriting and musicality is sounding decidedly more confident. For example, they aren't afraid to take on a slower and gentler intro to the track "Kids and Heroes" and put it alongside shredders like the opening attack of "Apartment 5F.” Unlike some of their earlier releases, this 16-track collection offers some diversity and darkness and a few unexpected turns so the disc never gets tedious or repetitive. It will be interesting to see how the more aggressive and slower stuff comes across live when the band tours Canada this month. (Epitaph)