The Bronx are a band whose name always crops up. I've heard of them, but for some reason, I've never heard them. With the announcement that they were to play The Garage in Aberdeen this year, and how excited everyone was at this I decided to grab the chance to review their new release. Now, I had no idea what I was getting in for; I've reviewed lots of different bands that come under the punk genre, each sounding completely different. None of these bands had taken time out to become a Mariachi band though. So I was excited, if not confused.
The Bronx (IV) begins as you'd expect from a punk band. Distorted guitars playing riffs a-plenty whilst Matt Caughthran's vocals are reminiscent of that rough but melodic style of Fucked Up or Alexisonfire. The first track The Unholy Land opens the album and sets the mood. There isn't much sway in how the tracks feel from start to finish. Too Many Devils brings a heavier edge. But the overall sound isn't very, well, 'punky'. I'm not saying punk has to be a Minor Threat rip. But to me, The Bronx sounded like a 'riffier' Foo Fighters.
I decided that I'd see what their older albums could give me. Youtube showed me some great tracks that I'd love to see live. So I decided to give The Bronx (IV) another go.
And I'm glad I did. For people who listen to this first time and dismiss - don't. It's definitely a grower. And when it grows, you'll be glad you went back to it. At first it may feel awkward, like trying to ask out a girl you dumped. But with your tail between your legs and your eyes fixed on your feet, The Bronx will take you back and show you a good time.
I started again from the beginning. And I felt myself bouncing. I knew what to expect this time round so the "punk" label was thrown out the window and I just enjoyed myself. Along For The Ride and Pilot Light still reek of the Foos, but there's a certain happiness, and the chorus of Along For The Ride made me smile and rewind. Torches gave me a slower feel and I don't know how I overlooked this first time round. It's a straight up ballad, and it's probably one of my favourite tracks. My only fault to this album is that from start to finish, bar a few tracks, it is very samey. And I would listen to it in small doses or parts, as at the half way mark I was looking for something to refresh my pallet. Penultimate track Life Less Ordinary definitely does this. It's completely different from the rest of the album. Unfortunately it's the second to last song. So although I enjoyed the finale wholeheartedly, getting there was a struggle.
The Bronx's fourth outing has 12 fantastic songs. But back to back, there just wasn't enough variety to make me want to sit down and listen to the album start to finish. Each song on their own would be welcomed if it came on during a shuffle, and I will put this album on again, but I fear I won't reach the end. Probably due to my own tendencies. I think I have some sort of ADHD of the ears, but when other bands keep me captivated, I feel some of the blame must land on The Bronx. Maybe a shuffle in track list, or more of Life Less Ordinary throughout the album would help. As it stands, The Bronx (IV) is a great group of songs, but it's hard to listen to as an album.
IV by The Bronx is out on the 5th of February via White Drugs/ATO Records.