In the English language, the term ‘cheeky scamps’ is usually reserved for boys no older than 10 who are generally well-behaved and sweet, but amuse themselves by partaking in the odd prank and harmless game of knockdown ginger. That the expression is as equally fitting to Bowling for Soup twenty-two years into their career gives you an idea of how much fun they continue to be, as anyone who saw them support Steel Panther last month will testify. The Texas pop-punkers helped form the soundtrack to a generation during the mid 00’s with a string of hits such as ‘1985’, ‘Girl All the Bad Guys Want’ and ‘High School Never Ends’ and last Friday was meant to be when Drunk Dynasty was released, an album entirely funded again by the ever-growing PledgeMusic website and giving us Bowling for Soup’s eleventh studio record and first new material in three years. Being the ruffians that they are however, they released it digitally a month in advance without warning. Oh Bowling for Soup, what will we do with you?
Well, as it turns out, we’ll give them two thumbs up for another slab of pure, unaldutered fun. Sure they’re still singing about girls, relationships and the sort of teenage angst that made them household names over a decade ago, but it’s the little one-liners scattered across the record that give it that extra bit of colour, from taking the pickles off burgers (‘She Used to Be Mine’) to leaving all the house outgoings behind and stealing the family dog (‘Go to Bed Mad’) and even the glorious ‘She’s works six days a week and she’s got a nice a-a-house’ halfway through ‘She Doesn’t Think That It’s Ever Gonna Work Out’. And whilst ‘Shit to Do’ may have an underlying piano that doesn’t so much rip off Andrew WK’s Party Hard as set it on fire, it’s a real nitpick in an otherwise bouncy, hugely entertaining album; you certainly can’t say Bowling for Soup don’t write huge anthems that deserve to be shouted at the top of your lungs. Other gems on the record are ‘Don’t Be a Dick’, which should be the international song for every single internet forum going and ‘Drinkin’ Beer on a Sunday’ which sees the quartet ditch go country on us and nail it six ways to, erm, Sunday in a way we’ve never heard before.
Put simply, if you need to be cheered up, let the four rascals who created this record turn that frown upside down permanently; it’s fun, it’s wacky and it’s excellent. We might have bands like Neck Deep and State Champs leading a huge revival in pop punk right now, but Bowling for Soup have proved once again that the scene veterans are just as capable of producing music gold.
Jaret Reddick – lead vocals, guitar
Chris Burney – guitar, backing vocals
Erik Chandler – bass, backing vocals
Gary Wiseman – drums, backing vocals
She Used to be Mine
Shit to Do
Go to Bed Mad
She Doesn’t Think That It’s Ever Gonna Work Out
Don’t Be a Dick
Stop Doing That
Happy as Happy Gets
Drinkin’ Beer on a Sunday