Hopeless Romantic (Epitaph)
by Scott Hefflon
Perhaps their best yet, the Bouncing Souls cover a lot of varied ground on Hopeless Romantic, and while it’s not all top-notch, there are songs you’ll play endlessly (your friends’ll eventually hide the record or stop hanging out with you, but if you’ve got the Souls on yer side, who needs friends?). The Bouncing Souls are one of the few bands that actually gets better as they get more popular. An underground favorite for years now, they actually seem to be having even more fun than before, not to mention playing songs that you’d’ve never thought possible from this kinda jumpy, one-style band. While some may get nostalgic for the band’s simpler days when they released their own records and won die-hard fans by the handful, they’re simply a helluva lot better than they used to be, and they haven’t compromised or become rock stars in the process. And that’s rare.
Truthfully, there are some phenomenal guilty pleasures here, as well as a few obvious tunes that are meant to win you over. Get the difference? New Wave and Billy Idol are slipped in amidst pep-rally cheers, pub anthems, nostalgic reminiscences, and, well, driving rock. And then there’s the duet with friend Kara Weathington. Snotty punk chick and Ben Affleck guyness meet in what’s supposed to be a kinda updated “Don’t You Want Me” by The Human League. It’s called “Wish Me Well (You Can Go to Hell).” You kinda get the gist, and man if this sucker doesn’t ring true. You can bet yer ass this is gonna pop on a ton of mixed tapes to ex-girlfriends. Overall, Hopeless Romantic has the leap-around punk we’ve come to expect from the Bouncing Souls (yeah, face it – Greg misses more notes than the ex-singer of Dropkick Murphys, but we love him for his passion, not his accuracy), but it shows sides of the band never before seen, or not as clearly as they are here. With a little something for everyone here, these guys have an undeniable penchant for taking real life, adding a humorous slant to it, then helping us all though it by singing along at the top of our voices. Boisterous therapy for the young, and the young at heart.
(2798 Sunset Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90026)