Probably one of the greatest shows in my life happened in 2008. I had to drive to Portland with some buds to see it, but it was worth it to see The Bouncing Souls and Hot Water Music play together before HWM broke up for the hundredth time and then got back together. These reunion shows just haven't been as tremendous. Perhaps it was because I was in the middle of a pretty solid depression after the girl I thought I would marry left me. Maybe it was just because of these two bands playing together at last. A couple years later, they went on tour together in Australia and released this split 7".
They follow the tradition of great bands releasing a split where they cover each others' songs. HWM did this with Alkaline Trio a while back, as well. Maybe it's just because I love HWM more, but they always seem to do the better cover. Their version of True Believers is somehow more passionate, and more heartfelt than the original. This, despite a strange mix decision of having the vocals set a little farther back and lots of emphasis on guitar over bass. The boys from Florida take a little liberty with the original with a different harmony for "True believers all the way!" and a bit of a different drum fill (though Mr. Rebelo went on to play in the Souls for a bit). The tempo is basically the same and Chuck even adds a bit of Bouncing Souls silliness at the end by pinching off the last "True believerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrs."
Remember at the show when the boys from The Souls joined HWM for a joint cover of True Believers? Best show ever.
The Bouncing Souls cover one of the most anthemic HWM songs from Caution: Wayfarer. They keep it true to the original and the band basically sounds like Hot Water Music in tone and tempo, but it just feels slower. Greg's loungey vocals don't really work for this song, though the gang "woah oh ohs" of the chorus are pretty spot on. The vocals are a little too clean and behind the beat. I know they probably love the song and wanted to do it justice, but it doesn't sound as passionate as the original.
So, once again, Hot Water Music wins the split 7", cover-each-other's-songs game. And since neither of these songs are available on some collection yet, you pretty much should pick this up and decide a winner for yourself. But I'm right.
A: Wayfarer The Bouncing Souls
B: True Believers Hot Water Music