For over twenty years now, Texan four-piece BOWLING FOR SOUP have been an institution in the world of pop-punk. Carving out their own niche within the scene across ten studio albums, the band now find themselves launching back into the world of crowd-funding for the release of another – Drunk Dynasty. Initially pitched as an EP, the project soon grew when the band decided they simply had too many good songs, and as a result, we’re left with the eleventh BOWLING FOR SOUP record.
Upon first listen, what immediately becomes apparent is that Drunk Dynasty is a far more cheerful affair than its predecessor. Whereas 2013’s Lunch. Drunk. Love. felt like an angrier record than the band’s usual fare (due mostly to various issues in the band members’ personal lives at the time), this seems very much the sound of BOWLING FOR SOUP picking themselves back up, moving on and returning to a brighter sound. Opening track She Used To Be Mine is a typically upbeat punky number that sees vocalist Jaret Reddick lamenting his time with a former lover in a surprisingly heartfelt anthem. It’s an impressively strong opener, and things only get better from there on out.
If there’s one thing that BOWLING FOR SOUP have always reliably dealt in, it’s colossal choruses. From The Bitch Song to Girl All The Bad Guys Want and High School Never Ends, through to more recent hits like My Wena and Critically Disdained, the band have always seemed to have an innate knack for fusing catchy pop-style choruses with punk-rock sensibilities and things are no different on Drunk Dynasty. Lead single Hey Diane is arguably one of the best songs the band have put out in some time, with unashamedly campy-sounding harmonies and some excellent guitar work from Reddick and lead guitarist Chris Burney.
In terms of pure anthemic rock though, the prize on this record has to go to Don’t Be A Dick, which sees the band firing on all cylinders for a surprisingly heavy track about, as you’d expect, just being a decent human being. Led heavily by drummer Gary Wiseman’s powerful beats and Erik Chandler’s grooving basslines, the track is easily one of the most impactful things on all of Drunk Dynasty, and its shout-along chorus should slot into the band’s live set with ease before long.
If one small criticism could be levied at Drunk Dynasty as an album though, it’s undoubtedly that it simply feels overly-familiar by now. Perhaps the only real curveball is closing track Drinkin’ Beer On A Sunday which is, put simply, an acoustic country song which sees the band take on a campfire song-esque sound and extol the virtues of alcohol in just over three minutes of jaunty acoustic rock. In terms of sound, it’s a stark contrast to the mostly-punk basis of the other ten songs it accompanies, but the change feels welcome and thus the song itself feels incredibly enjoyable and a strong closer for the record.
As a BOWLING FOR SOUP album, Drunk Dynasty can hardly be called groundbreaking – in fact, it sticks almost entirely to the type of sound the band have been perfecting for two decades, with almost no experimentation – save for the aforementioned closing track. What it is though, is another hugely enjoyable record from the Texas quartet, and one that certainly yields several songs likely to become live favourites in due time.
Like BOWLING FOR SOUP on Facebook.