The Bronx (IV)
When I read the blurb about The Bronx shifting from their hardcore/punk roots to a more ‘polished hard rock’ sound, I was a tiny bit concerned. After all, they’d made three albums and an EP in their original style and their raucous punk n’ roll is what made them what they are – aside from a flamboyant mariachi band with is what these also achieved with aplomb in Mariachi El Bronx. Well, after listening to their fourth – you guessed it…self-titled album, I have to question what on earth was I concerned about? They haven’t made the biggest shift –they’ve simply modified their sound a little and its as refreshing as it is still gloriously raucous. After running with their body-shaking salsa for two albums in a row, its great to see them going back to their main musical personalities – but The Bronx in 2013 are an altogether reinvigorated beast, and ‘IV’ is not what I’d call polished, still retaining its punk verve but adding is monstrously heavy, yet melodic and triumphant dimension, seemingly transferring to their new skin in a glorious blaze of concrete riffs and victorious refrains.
It’s a whole new set of Bronx anthems that are begging for live treatment. ‘Along For the Ride’, featuring a corking chorus including the line ‘we used to control the world/but now that’s died/now we’re just along for the ride’. Then there’s ‘Style Over Everything, in which Matt Caughthran proclaims ‘I shoot to kill, I don’t fuck around!‘ – so many memorable lines to quote, too numerous to list. Even the slightest shift to a harder edged sound hasn’t altered The Bronx’s dynamic too much, with the rest of the band conjuring frequently stomping riffs between them. The only real changes in pace are ‘Torches’, which could be a Mariachi el Bronx song but for its soaring and righteous chorus, and ‘Life Less Ordinary’ which provides the only restraint from the heavy hitting action, the two guitarists going lo-fi over Caughthran’s sublime croon, before firing up the burners one last time for ‘Last Revelation’.
So there it is. Whatever was I concerned about? Here is a band fresher for submitting to the charms of Mexico, back to wreak joyous punk rock havoc in our lives once again. The Bronx may be a little bit older, a little bit wiser, and a little bit more refined, yet no less of an animal. It’s a beautiful relationship.
The Bronx – Ribcage