This is the 30th year of The Bouncing Souls, which seems crazy in many ways – including that I’ve been listening to them for nearly 25 of those years. This year is a milestone for the band: a big international tour, this new EP, even a book of memorabilia for the diehards.
I’ve had a bit of a love/indifferent relationship with the band over the years. A few of the early records were on repeat for a good chunk of 1996-1999 but somewhere along the way things felt a little too same-y to me and I fell off the bandwagon. I check in from time to time and I haven’t jumped back onto the Bouncing Souls train in recent years. In other words, I came into Crucial Moments with somewhat low expectations and I’m pleasantly surprised with what they’ve put out this time around.
Maybe the EP format suits the band well, highlighting their strengths and maintaining that energetic vibe that sometimes gets lost over a longer record. This 6-song EP reminds me of their ear for melody, the stark-yet-fluid breakdowns and those singalongs that have set them apart from their peers since the beginning. In short, Crucial Moments sounds urgent and present. This isn’t some reminiscence about a milestone, it’s a band in the now.
The production suits the band’s strengths. It’s crisp and clean, using subtle dynamics, like the hushed bass drums, to highlight the variations within the song structures. Whether it’s highlighting a breakdown or pushing a soaring melody to the next level it gives the record an extra step throughout the whole EP, as do the bass levels.
Given the milestone here, especially for a band that’s written a fair amount of first-person material over the years, it would be easy to put out an EP about themselves and the anniversary. Instead this record looks at relationships, growth, and the future instead of pointing a spotlight at the past. This EP is everything that fans enjoy about The Bouncing Souls. More importantly, it’s reflective of a band that’s still passionate about their work instead of just going through the motions.
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Posted Aug. 26, 2020, 9:08 p.m.
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