Bronx - Bronx IV
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If throwing yourself around your living room, smashing lamps and annoying your housemates/parents/spouse is your cup of tea, then The Bronx have returned – finally. Although it’s been five years since the Californian five-piece last released a studio album, the excellent III, the group have never been far from our collective speakers, their Mariachi El Bronx guise proving extremely popular – and profitable – for the band.
But now Matt Caughthran and the rest of The Bronx are back, with their eyes on reclaiming their position on the top of the punk food chain. Whether or not IV has them reaching this goal, though, depends on one’s point of view. If IV is your first contact with The Bronx, then lead single Ribcage and the Hives-esque Along for the Ride will be instantly attractive, and have you wondering where this band has been all your life.
If, however, you’ve been on The Bronx bandwagon for years, then you might think that their time as Mariachi – and the band members’ inevitable aging – has mellowed their music. Despite lyrics like “Keep pace and don’t slow down” (Youth Wasted), IV, at times, lacks the frenetic, unrelenting anger that inspired the band’s earlier work. Caughthran’s angst is somewhat subdued by melody (see Torches) and the, gulp, ballad Life Less Ordinary seems like it would almost be better placed on a Mariachi record.
Overall, though, it’s great to have The Bronx back. As great as Mariachi are (and they are really great), The Bronx are some of the finest purveyors of punk, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see IV on best-of lists at the end of the year. Just remember, there’s plenty more where that came from.