BOWLING FOR SOUP - Lunch, Drunk, Love

Having recently announced their UK farewell tour, BOWLING FOR SOUP release their twelfth studio album, which is entirely fan funded.

First the good news. If you are a fan of the band, and having seen them several times live I would class myself as one, "LUNCH, DRUNK, LOVE" is on a par with any of their earlier efforts, although not radically different. Professional produced they show that, musically, they can stand comparison with any of the other bands in the pop punk genre. Having been around for 20 years they know precisely what their audience want, that is chunky riffs, full throttle drumming, thunderous bass lines and infectious choruses. And thereby is their main weakness.

Having gained their first commercial success in 2002 with "The Girl All The Bad Guys Want", a song incidentally nominated for a Grammy, and later radio friendly single "1985", they don't appear to have progressed. To a certain extent there is nothing wrong with endlessly playing the same song. Hell, the Ramones made 14 studio albums that were intrinsically the same record. However, as they were ground breakers, they should be allowed more latitude than bands that followed in their wake.

In truth, I find something rather demeaning about men in their 40's singing songs that contain lyrics such as "My mom and dad say we're moving too fast" (From The Rooftops), "All the stuff I planned to do to you and what you'll be doing to me. And by stuff I mean having sex and stuff" (Couple of Days) and "Then you flashed your boobies on the rollercoaster ride" (And I Think You Like Me Too).

Frustratingly, musically the band are consummate professionals. Songs such as reality critique "Real", slow-burner "Circle", rollicking rock song "Right About Know" and album finale "Kevin Weaver" show they can write proper, mature, songs. With a bit more forethought Bowling For Life could easily be perceived as something more than a boobs-and-farts, semi-joke band. However, they seem too easily content to lapse back into singing songs about cars, booze and chicks, which for me is a shame.

The first time I saw them live was at an alcohol free gig, primarily because I had mistakenly bought tickets for an afternoon matinee for under 14's! Whilst I find their intentions of playing for a younger audience laudable (apart from having to nip to a pub round the corner for a pint between bands) it would be sad to think that, over a decade later, they still see pre pubescent teenagers as their core audience.

Whilst this is to be the last time they visit these shores, they have confirmed that they are not breaking up. It would be nice to think that their next step would be akin to a band that once found themselves in a similar situation, namely Blink 182. However, their last two albums have shown a leap forward in development and, in so doing, they have been rewarded with a much wider audience.


So, all the best for the future to Bowling For Soup, a band who are funny and frustrating in equal measures. Whilst I hope their future recording career shows show a tad more maturity, it cannot be denied that live they remain a band guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.