Music » CD Reviews

Bouncing Souls/Anti-Flag

BYO Split Series Volume IV (BYO)


When they say Split Series, they're not kidding: Not only do New Jersey's Bouncing Souls and Pittsburgh's Anti-Flag each get six songs on Los Angeles label BYO's fourth volume of the series, but they each get their own set of liner notes. Jersey Beat 'zine founder Jim Testa handles the Souls, while U.K. Subs guitarist Nicky Garratt does the honors for Anti-Flag.

Perhaps it would've been more interesting to switch them around. What gave the third volume of the series (released last spring) a lot of its aesthetic tension was the fact the bands -- NOFX and Rancid -- spent their time covering each other's material. Here, the Bouncing Souls play only one Anti-Flag song and vice versa, though the Souls also cover Sticks and Stones and Cock Sparrer, while Anti-Flag takes on the Buzzcocks. It's less a friendly competition than a straightforward showcase. And "straightforward" is the watchword: only Anti-Flag leavens its trad buzzsaw attack (with hints of Jamaican skank). Both bands -- and especially Anti-Flag -- get by on enthusiasm, not to mention pungent songwriting: We can always use songs that ask, "National pride inside you/Building you up, or limiting you?"

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.