Bowling For Soup - Fishin' For Woos
2011, Que-So Records/Brando Records
2011, Que-So Records/Brando Records
Texas rockers Bowling For Soup return in 2011 with their eleventh album, Fishin’ For Woos, an intriguing collection of twelve songs that capture the irreverent air of classic Bowling For Soup material but also show a growing maturity as songwriters and performers. Co-produced by front man Jaret Reddick and Jarinus (Linus of Hollywood), Fishin’ For Woos will remind longtime fans of the sound Bowling For Soup propagated on 2002’ Drunk Enough To Dance.
Fishin' For Woos opens with the muscular guitar-pop of "Let's Pretend We're Not In Love". With a memorable chorus and bridge, Bowling For Soup pursues a counter-intuitive request for another chance, dolled up in solid vocal harmonies and an arrangement that moves. "Girls In America" could be a pan-geographic update of "California Girls" for a global culture. Bowling For Soup doesn’t go in for the Wilsonian harmonies you'd expect on a Beach Boys tune, although there is a brief homage wove into the arrangement. It's a fun and entertaining number that seems fitting for the next installment in the American Pie series. "S-S-S-Saturday" is a pure celebration of the weekend; mindless and fun. It's a great piece of alterna-pop. Bowling For Soup gets melancholy on "What About Us", employing a solid pop sensibility and plus melody in a number questioning the future of a relationship.
Practically every songwriter who has ever lived has written a song about important people in their lives. The rest get bugged about it until they do, or until they jettison the complaining friend/family member/significant other. Bowling Soup responds to this hypothetical in pure smart-alec style with "Here's Your Freakin' Song"; a ballad dripping with sarcastic honesty. "This Ain't My Day" is an anthem for the complainers out there; built on great pop hook with big rock sound. Don't be surprised if this is the song you're still humming the day after you first hear Fishin' For Woos.
"Smiley Face (It's All Good)" gets back to what rock n roll is all about. You're left with the distinctive impression here (and through much of the album, really) that Bowling For Soup flat out had fun making this album. "I've Never Done Anything Like This" is straight out of a movie, or at least it should be. Anyone who's ever done the walk of shame has heard, though or said this at least once. Guest vocalist Kay Hanley (Letters To Cleo, Palmdale) is a real treat here. "Friends Chicks Guitars" is a fun number that essentially sums up why a lot of bands started playing together in the first place. There's a simple, uncomplicated joy here that is catchy. "Guard My Heart" is a solid album track, and leads into the closer, "Graduation Trip". You might call "Graduation Trip" something of an alternative "Time Of Your Life" (Green Day). It starts out awkwardly and is a bit sophomoric in nature, but the song has a good heart, a solid melody and something thoughtful and poignant to say.
Bowling Soup has developed a fairly devoted following over the years, and it's easy to see why. Maturity has perhaps mellowed the sound and approach of the band just a tad, but beneath the sheen of jocularity and machismo the band once carried beat the heart of a band with real pop sensibility and an ability to craft catchy, memorable songs that stick with you. Fishin' For Woos manages to be the most accomplished effort to date from Bowling For Soup, without giving up the irreverent heart and the knowing smirk that has made them so fun to listen to over the years. Fishin' For Woos is a pleasant surprise.
Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more about Bowling For Soup at http://www.bowlingforsoup.com/ or www.myspace.com/bowlingforsoup. Fishin' For Woos is available from Amazon.com as a CD, on Vinyl and as a Download. The album is also available digitally via iTunes.