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July 22, 2024

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The Bouncing Souls
The One On (Live) (Epitaph Records)

By: Alex Steininger

Calling New York City home, The Bouncing Souls have a lot of the East Coast hardcore spirit in them, but also have a melodic side. Infectious, sing-along punk you can drink too, on their nine track live disc (eight live tracks and one studio track) they prove they're one of New York's hottest punk bands.

Beginning with "Say Anything," the pogo'ing will start as the '77 style melodic punk spins from your speakers. The lead vocals embrace the melodic side with open arms, while slightly hinting at a more aggressive punk side. The guitar has no trouble pulling off the duty of making the song rough, while still playing along with the vocals and making sure you can get into the music and sing-along. With that in mind, the rhythm section also plays with this feeling, slightly leaning towards a more bouncy side, but always keeping the raw essence alive.

"Kate Is Great" is the sort of ditty that makes you just want to go crazy, running and jumping around, while allowing your lips to move along with the music. Very poppy, it manages to stay away from the West Coast pop-punk sound by keeping the East Coast spirit in check. A definite highlight, you'll be humming this track with or without the music blaring.

Although sloppy and a bit loose, "ECFU!" shows the band at the peak of the live experience -- they're having a blast feeding off the energy of the crowd. A song dedicated to the land they love, the East Coast, I'm still not sure if the chorus "East Coast Fuck You" is a poke at the hectic life the over populated land can bring, or a "We're from the East Coast, so fuck you!" kind of remark.

Involving the crowd, "Born To Lose" invites everyone to sing along. Swaggering around like a bunch of drunken sailors, when the whole crowd starts to shout along with the music it gets quite tiresome. It sounds like a bunch of sounds oozing together, trying to make out the words to the song. Of course, they eventually break away from the crowd and carry the song on themselves. When this happens, it gets a lot better and starts to become enjoyable.

Ending with "Kid," a studio track that will appear on their forth coming full-length, they decide to end the live frenzy with some solid and tight punk rock that shows the band can harness energy through the studio as well as on the live stage. Shotgun blasts of drums shoot out of the music, while the bass eagerly thumps around and the guitar churns out cranky power chords to please.

A nice precursor to their forth coming Epitaph release (due out in the spring), this album leaves you hungry for more songs. Which brings me to the down side of this live album. Never have I seen a live album with only eight live songs. If you're going to put out a live album, do it right and put at least sixteen songs on the disc. I'd call this a live EP...I'll give it a B+.

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