Soundchecked: Bowling For Soup- Fishin’ For Woos

Rating: 9/10

Jaret Reddick and co. stick it to their old label with their most mature effort yet…

Having been significantly let-down by Jive records following the release of previous album Sorry For Partyin’, the band have taken the best revenge possible, by releasing one of their finest albums yet.

Of course, Fishin’ For Woos is still impregnated with the meandering and often bizarre narratives that make BFS such an enjoyable band to listen to. On top of this, however, the band have made use of their new found freedom, and explored new styles of writing to great effect.

Free from label pressures, songs like acoustic ballad “Turbulence” haven’t been manipulated to fit a certain sound. Instead it has been left bare and exposed, and is all the more beautiful for it.

With “S-S-S-Saturday” and “Friends Chicks Guitars” having already been released as downloads, their placement on the album creates a nice bridge between the more recognized BFS sounds, and the variety of different sounds on show. It’s good to see the band haven’t forgotten the songs that made them a success – both are crisp and cheeky, just as you would expect.

“Girls In America” carries a similar sound. Featuring the more refined layering that was present on Sorry For Partyin’, things have been taken one step further, and while this is more pop rock than punk, I can’t see too many complaining.

The album also sees a long-overdue release of “Guard My Heart”, a song written by bassist Erik Chandler. Having been received superbly on last year’s acoustic tour, it has been re-worked magnificently for the album. With an electric work-up, it strays comfortably into soft-rock territory, and is a great mid-tempo track to sway along to.

“I’ve Never Done Anything Like This”, featuring guest vocals from Kay Hanley (Letters To Cleo), tells the r-rated story of young lust. Far from being a gimmick or an afterthought, the introduction of a fresh vocal sound for the chorus adds a new dimension to the song, and prevents the repetitive chorus from becoming tedious.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Reddick has used the chorus “Not My Day” to experiment with some vocal melodies. These melodies, and the accents provided by the music, create a progressive and catchy tempo, which evolves through the choruses, and contrast nicely with the more rigid and formulaic verses.

It would have been very easy for Bowling For Soup to play it safe with this release, and stick to the tried-and-trusted formula of the early ‘00s. Fishin’ For Woos is indicative of a band who still want to move forward, and their intrepid first steps into a free world will doubt be rewarded with success.

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