If you were to count the number of bands who have lasted 30 years and consistently put out quality material over that period, you likely wouldn’t need both hands to do so. The Bouncing Souls thankfully fall into this category of a DIY-punk band that have made a memorable legacy for themselves over their 30-year career. Crucial Moments is an EP that stands on its merit of an accomplishment as much as it is a summary of what The Bouncing Souls have done over their eventful career. Accompanied by the 96-page coffee table book of the same name, The Bouncing Souls take some time to reflect on their legacy while still showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Opening the EP with the title track, the New Jersey-faithful set the stage for a look back at how far they’ve come. They sing on the opening notes, “We came together to honor an old friend/Let’s talk about music, good times and those moments in between.” These lyrics make it clear that they are taking a moment to look back on what they have done, yet they show a new-found passion for continuing to create quality music.
“1989” follows this track with a blast of punk rock chords and energy that The Bouncing Souls have made their name on over the years. They sing confidently in the second verse, “Living in a dump doing crimes in stereo/Cutting our teeth playing songs on the radio/Living on po boys and Colt 45/Playing those records to keep us alive.” By showcasing what they grew up with, the tough times that came early on in their career, and still living proudly to tell the tale 30 years later is quite remarkable.
“Favorite Everything” is a song that allows the band to pay homage to their fans who have stuck with them over the years, and gives a heartfelt thank you to their faithful. As the EP unfolds, it becomes even clearer that The Bouncing Souls are genuinely proud of what they have accomplished at this point in their career, while still remembering it was their fans that gave them the energy and purpose to press on. This thought process continues on “Here’s To Us,” as they embrace the unity they have with their fans. Greg Attonito sings, “Here’s to us and why we came/To bring some love, play the game/Here’s to you for coming round/Getting lost in the sound.” The Bouncing Souls are speaking directly to their longtime fans and still delivering their signature sound to their adoring base.
The closing track, “Home” finds Attonito soul-searching for what it means to have a place to come back to. His heartfelt lyrics in the chorus ring true when he sings, “There’s a place just out of reach/Fear and sadness will never breach/An endless space, it’s all your own/More than just home.” It’s a nice way to close out a collection of songs that have no shortage of nostalgic moments attached to them.
While doing a deeper dive into the book, Crucial Moments, I found it quite enlightening to see just how many lives The Bouncing Souls have touched along their 30-year journey. The testimonials from other bands such as The Gaslight Anthem, Dropkick Murphys, Lifetime, and many others in the DIY punk scene were powerful in hearing about the work ethic that The Bouncing Souls put forth in their career. The stories these other bands tell range from hilarious to heartbreaking, based on the type of memory that stood out to them, and shed more light on this band that has stood the test of time.
The book is filled with personal photos, concert flyers, hand-written lyrics, and several key moments that helped The Bouncing Souls along the way to punk stardom. As great as this collection of six songs are on this release, I can’t recommend highly enough to reading the book as well to truly grasp this remarkable journey that this band has been on.