I have never heard the Bouncing Souls before this week.
Heard of ‘em. Never heard ‘em.
Not sure how that happened, probably bad timing — just as these guys were getting a name for themselves, that third wave of punk bands that directly preceded them weren’t my taste. Anyway, somehow I missed them. My understanding is that they were a smart, sharp, punky rock band in the classic Epitaph style: consistently releasing well-reviewed full lengths and EPs, splitting 7”s with other highly respected punk bands, handing the elder states men role on Warped Tour — all the things a band of Bouncing Souls stature should do.
2011 however, a new wrinkle in the Bouncing Soul’s plan — frontman Greg Attonito has released a solo, near-acoustic EP record, Natural Disaster. The good part about not being a big Bouncing Souls fan is that I can evaluate this EP without any of the noise that would be filling my brain if I had had 15 years of Bouncing Souls fandom. And from this clean and clear ear, I hear an honest, catchy acoustic (with tinges of country) EP with clever but subtle instrumental touches.
Natural Disaster opens with its best track, “Teardrops.” A lovely mid tempo lullaby with a spare muted trumpet and small string embellishment and a great female back-up on the chorus. “Love is what we’re searching for” repeating in an ascending pattern that glides rather than soars. Really moving simple songwriting. Other tracks here lean towards classic country rhythms ands structures like “Eyes” and the muted trumpet-aided “Volcano” could be John Doe songs — simple in arrangement and open-hearted in delivery. Not a lot goes on lyrically but the lyrics’ unfussiness is really suited to the spare production. That’s not to say that Natural Disaster is perfect. One song, the ruefully titled “Sexiest Girl” feels somehow forced and incomplete. Not sure what happened with this one but as I try to be super positive, so I simply deleted this one after a few listens and now have a great back-to-front EP.
I’m not sure if fans of Bouncing Souls will like this , it doesn’t “rock”, it’s not anthemic, there’s barely any drums and Attonito barely sings above a whisper but if their fans appreciate honest working man’s acoustic rock, they’ll like this. Good job, dude, sorry for not checking in earlier.
Words by Stephe Sykes