As the third track on How I Spent My Summer Vacation makes abundantly clear, the Bouncing Souls are "True Believers," utterly uncompromising stalwarts of punk. By "punk," they do not mean the art-school flamboyance or anarcho-posturings of the Sex Pistols, or the heartfelt, in-your-face raging of Henry Rollins and Black Flag. Rather, this is the simple peacetime punk of kids with energy to spare. It's about sunny days, pretty girls, BMX bikes, and playful pogoing. It's about loneliness, alienation, and the desperate conviction of teenage love. And, above all, it's about music as a force for good.
The Bouncing Souls deliver a positivist, anthemic pop that's specifically designed to raise depressed spirits, as evinced lyrically by the two openers, "That Song" and "Private Radio," and the closing tune, "Gone." In this respect, they have much in common with Green Day and the Offspring, but they carefully avoid the deliberate frivolity of those bands, evidently aiming to reflect the lives and feelings of their fans instead of becoming rock & roll personalities themselves. Unfortunately, this realism makes How I Spent My Summer Vacation increasingly inconsequential as the tracks pass. But, in short bursts, it is what it intends to be--great fun.