Pop-punk is by nature a formulaic beast, and there are too many aging bands out there who are clearly still playing only because they don't know what the hell else to do with themselves. But after nearly twenty years together, the venerable Bouncing Souls
still sound just as enthusiastic and filled with the wild, vivacious joy that first motivated them to pick up instruments as teenagers back in 1987. The Souls bring a passion and exuberance to their shows and enough innovation to their records to keep it interesting for themselves as well as audiences. In fact, this year's The Gold Record
, the band's seventh full-length (and fifth on heavyweight punk label Epitaph) is among its best outings to date. The record was so well-received the band nabbed a spot on the Warped Tour for the entire summer of 2006. Maybe being elder statesmen isn't such a bad thing after all.