I get offered a lot of bands to interview. I haven’t done one since 2018. I hate it. I hate the falseness of it. I’ve got a mate that tweeted the other day that there’s “nothing better” than chatting to bands at the end of gigs and getting stuff signed.
That sound you can hear? My skin crawling.
The amount of bands you review who say “you must come and say hi” are myriad, but I’ve done that with one. I fell over on the way and took three of them out (this isn’t a joke, hi Crobot!)) and I won’t be doing it again unless Kylie Minogue asks.
The reason for being triggered in this way? Well, Bouncing Souls as it goes. Reading about their new “Ten Stories High” record was instructive, because its genesis came in lockdown, and it came through zoom meetings with fans, and as singer Greg Attonito puts it, it was something they enjoyed: ‘Oh cool we’re going to get to know someone’,” Attonito explains. “We’ve written so many songs from our own experiences but this time we really stepped outside of that.”
That sound you can hear, well….you get the picture.
But it’s a strategy that bore rich pickings for Bouncing Souls, however, because there’s little doubt in my mind that “Ten Stories High” is one of the finest records in their long career.
“Ten Stories High” itself – the title track I mean, is a perfect example of the band’s signature punk rock sound. Three of them – Attonito, guitarist Pete Steinkopf and bassist Bryan Kienlen have been doing this since 1989 and there’s a sort of telepathy here, for sure, but it’s a slightly different band than ever it’s been before.
Working with producer Will Yip (Mezingers) has proved a masterstroke, because tracks like “Back To Better” are more moshpit ready and have a bit of an Offspring vibe, while “Kenver” showcases the band’s ability to create effortlessly anthemic songs.
“True Believer Radio” is the one, though. The tale of long forgotten radio resonates with me as the eight year old kid who was listening to his portable radio in bed and thinking his mum and didn’t know (she did, of course she did).
“Shannon’s Song” is another standout track on an album full of them, with a soaring chorus and glorious Gaslight Anthem riff. “Andy And Jackie” has a garage rock flavour to it, while “Vin And Casey” brims with the LA sound and features the poignant line “I miss you my brother”, adding to the reflective feel of the record.
Really though, this is 25 minutes that is crammed full. “Magus Air Organ” is a bit more pop-oriented, and “To Be Human” has a touch of Ramones to it. “Higher Ground” is a slower burn but eventually picks up, serving as one last go-round before the album comes to a close.
As Therapy? put it once, happy people have no stories, so you can only imagine at what brought people to these points in life. And maybe it would be good to find out, ten interact on a human level. “Ten Stories High” is elevated as a result. Me, though? If you see me at a gig, I’ll be the one pretending to look at my phone to avoid eye contact.