Bouncing Souls

Tattoos fade, piercings close, bad attitudes mellow -- every punk's gotta grow up. Unfortunately, the shoulders of the punk-rock highway are littered with the rusting remains of many a veteran outfit that refused to surrender their thrashy, sloppy, wanna-be-youthful fuck-all approach even after it had veered well into the caricature lane.

New Jersey's Bouncing Souls aren't one of them, however, having spent the latter half of their 16 years together gradually moving away from the East Coast hard-core scene and embracing a more gravitas-laden musical demeanor, even if that's meant risking the enmity of the diehards. The quartet's latest disc on Epitaph, Anchors Aweigh, is by far their richest and, yeah, we'll say it, most mature offering to date, with a genuinely ruminative worldview to go along with the clean-sounding production and well-considered, occasionally midtempo arrangements. But that doesn't mean the Souls have wimped out. They haven't turned into Good Charlotte popsters or a dreaded Thursday-like screamo unit just yet. Live, they're insanely tight as they hit it fierce, and the addition of drumming phenom Mike McDermott a couple of years back has made the foursome even more versatile and adventurous onstage.

See, you really can get old without getting lame.

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