The Maniacal Laughter era Bouncing Souls undoubtedly saw them at their punkest. These three tracks from that record are a crescendo of punkness about punk values, punk touring, and punk circle pits. Up the punx.
The Ballad Of Johnny X starts us off with a fast and a bit sloppy idolization of a guy who just doesn't care what you think. "Johnny, you're the patron saint of spitting in the wind" ends the first build from moderately fast to really fast and loud. The lyrics are machine gunned out between rhythmic breaks full of palm muting and all the drums at once. A guest vocal bit before the outro is sort of weird, but overall the song is appropriate to the subject matter and great for getting you to work on some project you've been procrastinating on or to inspire you to get out there and be yourself.
The B-side is even punker with the soccer chant chorused Here We Go and the ultra fast Headlights... Ditch!. The Souls' love of soccer is only rivaled by their love of BMX. Here We Go incorporates an actual soccer chant (later, they recorded a second chant song which became their anthem: Ole) set to the melody of Sousa's Stars And Stripes in the midst of a collection of tour stories. The addition of a chorus of vocals takes away from the accuracy of the rhythms but adds the appropriate volume to accompany the fast and ragged punk two-step in the background. Unbelievably, it provides a breather to get you ready for the exhausting speed of Headlights... Ditch!. This may be the Souls' fastest song and the circle pit inspiring drumming is crazy. Phew.
The drawback of the punkness of this record is that the true punks probably won't buy it because it's not crusty enough and the non-punks probably won't buy it because it's too punk. It's in a strange spot market-wise. However, The Bouncing Souls are the patron band of spitting in the wind, so they just put it out because they like it. It's also just right for guys like me who appreciate a wide range of punk and non-punk stuff. Here we go!
A: The Ballad Of Johnny X
B1: Here We Go