The Bouncing Souls are the latest band to re-work some of their older songs with a stripped down or re-imagined approach. It’s the perfect time for bands to revisit their past material since they can’t very well do too much in terms of touring, unless you want to rock out at a drive-in concert. Nonetheless, the long lasting NJ punk band has done an awesome job with Volume 2, including a new song in the mix too!
Volume 2’s idea was conceived at the band’s 30th anniversary acoustic tour last year and then spawned from there. The first song we got to hear from this album was “World on Fire,” which was recorded at the beginning of the pandemic. To me, the song sounded great from the get-go. I was hoping the Bouncing Souls had this album in the works because I liked their sound so much in “World on Fire.” Turns out, they did 10 other tracks.
The album starts off with “Argyle”, which sounds nothing like the original. In fact, I almost like what they have done with this version than the original tune. The good thing about these types of albums is you can still enjoy both versions and don’t have to pick. “Gone” is the next song and obviously this one is recognizable as it’s one of the most well known songs from the Souls. It starts out with strings, which is a nice touch. The strings return throughout the song though, which makes it sound very uplifting somehow. Really interesting style and approach to the song; I love it!
“Simple Man” is a good one too. The guitars in it are very reminiscent of The Cure. It sounds like “Pictures of You” to me. Once you hear the song, you’ll know what I’m talking about. You’ve heard “Hopeless Romantic” before but you haven’t heard it done this way. It’s got an 80s-vibe to it, but done acoustically for the most part. “Kids and Heroes” is still an excellent song and still one of my favorite Bouncing Souls songs. This version is very similar to the original, just slightly different. The end of the album ends on a perfect note with “Ghosts on the Boardwalk.” This was the other song that was released recently and it just caught me off guard (in a good way). The version is a little somber, haunting in a way but picks up at the end. For some reason, I never paid much attention to Ghosts on the Boardwalk album but I’m going to have to revisit that one.
This may not be a new material, full-length album (besides “World on Fire”) but in a way, it feels like it. The arrangements of the songs are different and I absolutely love it! I haven’t seen Bouncing Souls live in a long time unfortunately but I wished I got the chance to see them perform these songs acoustically during the 30th anniversary tour. Perhaps when the world isn’t on fire anymore, I’ll get that chance. This album is totally worth buying if you’re a fan and it’s just interesting to hear the songs done this way. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to listen to the Bouncing Souls discography.
Bottom Line: I’ll take another volume of this please? Pretty please?
Notable Tracks: Gone, Simple Man, Kids and Heroes, Highway Kings, World on Fire,