Bouncing Souls The Gold Record

How is it that New Jersey’s Bouncing Souls can seemingly release the same album time and again yet deliver just enough chutzpah to make it seem essential? It’s like they’ve found the "Fountain of AC/DC” or something. Falling closer to their Hopeless Romantic era than the past couple of discs, The Gold Record features more slightly relaxed four-chord punk rock crooners than guttural affronts, which only serves to maintain the band’s lackadaisical albeit wistful and nostalgic nature. It’s almost a scientific formula of epic choruses that step up just enough from the verses to make you want to raise a pint, wrap your arm around your buddies and cheer along as if you’ve all just had some sort of Big Chill moment. Offset by slightly silly numbers such as "The Pizza Song” and "Letter From Iraq,” things do lighten up at times so that the whole Gold Record experience isn’t too heavy on emotional. Moreover, it lends the possibility of truthfulness to the title. If enough ears are bent to this catchy slice of gritty-yet-endearing punk rock, the band could be bouncing on golden souls eventually. (Epitaph)