With the annual Bowling For Soup October UK full band tour just having been completed in the last few days, for this year's tour BFS did something a little bit different for their tour preparations. Bowling For Soup have got together with the other two bands on the tour, their longtime friends The Dollyrots and Patent Pending, to put together an album full of new songs including the bands' covering each other's songs. The album, like the tour, is entitled "One Big Happy". What kind of mood does it put you in after listening? Let's find out...
Bowling For Soup & Friends - One Big Happy Album Review
When it comes to pop punk, if you looked up "reliable" in the pop punk dictionary you would see a picture of the four members of BFS - Jaret, Erik, Chris and Gary. It will come as no surprise to anyone familar with the Texan four piece that Bowling For Soup kick off One Big Happy with a bang, expressing their love of the UK (and alcoholic beverages) with the comically brilliant "Let's Go To The Pub". This is a song that worm its way into your head and stay there until you're nodding along with it without even realising.
The Dollyrots play it straight with their cover of Bowling For Soup's old hit The Bitch Song but Kelly O's vocal style fits the song very well and it's a very effective cover which would fit The Dollyrots live very well (though possibly not when touring with the songs' originators). Patent Pending give a very "radio jingle" feel to their cover of BFS's song Shut Up & Smile. It also feels like it should be a Christmas song with the use of what sounds like Xylophones in places, but doesn't match up to the original as well as The Dollyrots attempt (though the members of BFS yelling ice cream flavours in the background during the interlude is hilarious).
Away from covering Bowling For Soup, The Dollyrots again do an excellent job with their version of Patent Pending's Just Like All The Rest, producing an interpretation that gives a new life to the song and is another of the high spots on One Big Happy. Bowling For Soup's foray into covering the other bands sees them put their sound to The Dollyrots' My Heart Explodes successfully; Kelly O from The Dollyrots thinks' its a great cover which is possibly the best indication of success if the songs' originator really enjoys it and I'm not going to disagree.
It seems that with One Big Happy the best was left until last; Jaret Reddick's duet with Kelly O on Love Ya, Love Ya, Love Ya is a fantastic piece of pop punk with a catchy sound and lyrics that are serious and amusing all at the same time. The song feels like a bonafide single and if released it would deserve success.
Overall, One Big Happy was a very good intro piece to the One Big Happy UK tour. It's not necessarily the strongest material ever produced by any of the three bands in question, but it has some definite high points and if the purpose of the album was to encourage people to buy tickets for the tour and get them in the mood for it, then it was definitely mission accomplished.