After fifteen-plus years going from shitty club to shitty club on the American punk rock circuit, you might expect a weathered band like the Bouncing Souls to have had some of the wind knocked from its sail. But with Anchors Away, the New Jersey group's exhilarating new studio album, the Souls show more heart than ever. Growing up in the shadow of NYC, 9/11 hits home with the anthem "Born Free." But the Souls aren't only about the blasting material, as the escapist punk ballad "Night Train," reveals the influence of their parents' Springsteen albums. "Give me something to sing about," frontman Greg Attonitoi pleads in desperation on "Sing Along Forever," balking at rock's spiritless status quo. When the kids pick up this stellar disc, that very void will be filled.
-JOHN D. LUERSSEN