The zany punks from Denton are back with a new album, their 11th record, actually. Bowling for Soup’s Fishin’ For Woos, an album that the guys have released on their own after the last few records felt the velvet touch of the major label treatment. Now, don’t assume the method of distribution has had any effect on the overall sound of the band, as it certainly hasn’t. Power-pop-punk is still the order for the day here.

Here’s where it get’s tricky.

After 11 albums, there are more than a few folks who aren’t interested anymore in the tales of these guys hating work, loving the weekends, and getting back at girls that have scorned them with their music. With Fishin’, there’s a lot of ammo for those folks. There is literally not an ounce of any sort of growth evident on this album. But does there need to be? What good is so-called growth if it takes a band away from who they are? If this band “grew”, then “I’ve Never Done Anything Like This,” a catchy and hilarious tale of a party girl who tries to hide her true nature, wouldn’t have made it onto the album, probably. What good what that be?

A tune like “Here’s Your Freaking Song” is what many critics/haters are using as their main object of derision when discussing the band’s percieved lack of artistic evolution. While family-men approaching middle age that have been making cartoon music in recent years dont exactly make convincing, rebellious teenagers, they shouldn’t have to be ”convincing” from a sense of being authentic. Does a band that plays music geared towards people of their own age-group automatically equal evolved, or mature or authentic? Not really.

Fishin’ isn’t anything new, and the band surely isn’t reinventing themselves this time around, but they are making a calculated (does that equal mature?) choice to produce an album that is clearly a play-off of their strengths and a move that keeps them algined with their fan-base that has long supported them (again, 11 albums and a decade or so together isn’t a small feat). Ask BFS lead singer Jaret Reddick, and he’ll tell you that this album represents what it is that this band does, and change for change’s sake is fruitless, let alone needless.

Actually, the record is fun and catchy and packed with the sounds and tales that have made them a band worthy of discussion in the first place. If one requires reinvention with each new album, then this band probably isn’t - hasn’t ever been - for you. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. We even like to be challeneged fairly regularly in our musical diversions and excursions, from bands that in fact claim or desire to be challenging or constantly evolving. Bowling for Soup doesnt make such claims and shouldnt be required to do anything other than to have fun, drink beers, bug the girls the claim to hate, but really love and to make the music they want to make.