Well, it’s March, and the Souls have released the aptly titled 20th Anniversary Series: Volume One. This 33 1/3 beauty comes on colored wax (mine is black and maroon), and the cover forms part of a Souls anniversary logo created by bassist Bryan Kienlen and Arturo Vega. Now, I haven’t been keeping up with the band’s online releases (I also wait for my favorite TV shows to come out on DVD. Watching three seasons of How I Met Your Mother within like a week is awesome), so Volume One was a surprise for me. The first side, featuring January’s “Gasoline” and February’s “We All Sing Along,” is standard pogo-ready punk from one of the best
The B-side, featuring March’s “Airport Security” and the bonus track “A Life Less Ordinary,” tweaks the Souls’ formula a bit. “Airport Security” is a pretty light, mid-tempo track. It has more in common with mid-’90s alt-rock than, say, Lifetime or Face to Face. It’s a decent track, but not terribly memorable. Also, the lyrics have a slightly rambling, directionless bent. “A Life Less Ordinary” is a little more interesting, with a haunting, acoustic tone previously hinted at on the seminal Anchors Aweigh record (and, apparently, the band’s recent live shows). Attonito has always been an iconic punk singer to me, articulate and powerful but with a much more relaxed delivery than most punk/hardcore vocalists. “A Life Less Ordinary” feels like a much more natural fit for him. It’s a good chill-out song after the record’s rock-centric cuts, and the guitar solo at the end is sweet.
Volume One is an all too brief listening experience – I want a new Souls full-length and I want it right now. And, compared to the band’s wealthy discography, it doesn’t top what they have done before. But it’s still The Bouncing Souls singing punk rock songs about struggling against a fucked up American current, and that gives me great comfort. I’m always gonna love these mooks. Happy birthday. Now please fast forward to June so I can get Volume Two.