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The Bronx – [Album]

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Saturday, 09 February 2013

Sometimes the reason why a record turns out to be incredibly difficult to like is because some of it is just so good – but some of it is just so not. That, in short, is the great hindrance to the success of The Bronx' fourth album; some of the album's twelve songs qualify as the knock-down, drag-out best tunes that the band has ever written and they're bolstered by some of the best playing they've ever committed to tape. By the same token though, there are several tracks here which are just so bad – so mawkish and formally inept – they'll make you wonder why you wasted your time listening in the first place. That perfect dichotomy is what makes (IV) difficult to analyze; that is the problem from which the album suffers.

While it may eventually prove to be hobbled by a bit of ambitious over-production and the band's ambition to stylistic reach out (but ultimately come up short), (IV) doesn't start out that way. At first, The Bronx will have listeners pinwheeling around to look twice as the band quickly slashes the proceedings open with “The Unholy Hand” and then burns both all the preconceived notions that uninitiated listeners may have had of the band to the ground with “Along For The Ride,” “Style Over Everything,” “Youth Wasted, “Too Many Devils” and “Pilot Light.” The first several songs on (IV) are incredibly exciting; while fans likely always had a feeling that the band had something like this in them, every fan will agree that they've really never come as close to these first results before.

There is, very simply, no weak point in the early playing of (IV). Here, singer Matt Caughthran sneers and spits out party-ready manifesto after party-ready manifesto like this generation's answer to Dick Manitoba while, combined, guitarists Joby Lord and Ken Machikoshi, bassist Brad Magers and drummer Jorma Vik crunch along defiantly like a new, galvanized and perfectly cocksure permutation of The Dictators. The whole first half of the album fairly oozes that sort of cock-swinging punk but, just as soon as listeners take a second to catch their breath and the midpoint of the album's running, that's when everything goes wrong. Without really knowing where it could possibly have come from, a metal edge gleams through the mix of “Torches” all of a sudden, and immediately throw listeners off-balance. They'll pause to wonder if all that crotch-grabbing and figurative grandstanding in the record's early playing may have actually been The Bronx' first attempts at hard rock or heavy metal, and they'll get a chill. Listeners will still be wondering about that when they spot the gleam again on the guitars on “Under The Rabbit,” and then again only just beneath the surface of “Ribcage” – by then, they'll be thoroughly disconcerted by the forms which keep appearing in the second half of (IV), but when it happens bright and clear as day in “Valley Heat,” listeners will find themselves wondering what the hell happened during the making of this record which dragged The Bronx so far off-course. After “Last Revelation” (ironically) closes the record out, some listeners might restart the CD to try and figure out where exactly The Bronx slipped up and how, but others won't be so charitable; they'll simply renounce (IV) as The Bronx' bad egg, or maybe (IV) will become regarded as the beginning of the end in years to come.

Artist:

www.thebronxxx.com/bx4/
www.myspace.com/thebronx
www.facebook.com/thebronx
www.twitter.com/the_bronx

Download:
The Bronx – “Youth Wasted” – (IV) [mp3]

Album:

(IV) is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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The Bronx – [Album]

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Monday, 05 January 2009

There are a few things that have always characterized music as rock n’ roll since the day Ike Turner committed the thrill of joyriding around in a “Rocket ‘88” to tape: a lawless disregard for authority, a few rampaging and unhinged libidinous urges, crunching distorted guitars to begin with, and all of it crowned by a singer that doesn’t care if the exertion of his performance leaves him able to speak the next day or not. In the fifty years since “Rocket ‘88” hit record store shelves, a few acts have epitomized that aesthetic beautifully; among those, such venerable names as The Stooges, The Cramps, the MC5 and The Dictators have all been touted as rock n’ roll’s latest last chance for salvation because, at their core, they represent a wild abandon and reckless spirit – the sound of screaming youth – that’s attractive to young people because they equate the manic delivery and glass-rattling decibels with freedom. Of course, seldom do the leashes not get applied as one record company or another attempts to harness the madness and put it to good (read: salable) use, but that marketing is how people outside of the immediate reach of a band get into it too.

Over the last few years, the theory that rock n’ roll is an art form and not simply a reaction to the doldrums and tribulations of teen and twenty-something life has taken hold and started running. ‘Emo’ and ‘Screamo’ have developed a new and calculated artifice to overlay upon rock strains and give the impression of a wildly aggressive anthemia (check out anything that singer/screamer George Pettit lends his voice to); it sounds angry, but is it a ‘live for today because tomorrow might never come’ sort of infectious abandon? No, it’s just an excellent achievement in deducing common trends in psychology and mimicking them so that audiences can find something of themselves in what they’re hearing and take it home with them.

There’s hope though; with copious numbers of decibels but no clear reason in mind, after a languid sophomore effort, The Bronx have returned.

From the stuttering, thick-as-a-brick guitar line that opens “Knifeman,” The Bronx emerge ready to kick ass and take names on III.  Guitarists Joby Ford and Ken Horne, along with bassist Brad Magers and drummer Jorma Vik erect a series of eleven positively pummeling auditory assaults that never let up as they sidewind their way to climax every time before burning the whole fucking thing down and starting from scratch again on the very next track.

Without a doubt though, the crown jewel of The Bronx remains singer Matt Caughthran. Amid Magers’ seething bass lines and the pile-driving guitars, in tracks including “Six Days A Week,” “Young Bloods” and the tongue-in-cheek “Ship High In Transit,” Caughthran belts every note in a dynamic-free manifesto that gives listeners the impression he really won’t see tomorrow as his caustic howl fights tooth and nail against the instruments in the songs while simultaneously jumping down the collective throat of anyone foolish enough to stand in his way as he rushes headlong toward oblivion – but making sure that everyone knows which way he went too.

There is no sign of reprieve even as The Bronx sustains a meltdown through the red-hot final blast of “Digital Leash,” in fact, as the album closes, the band takes that all-important step up to arrive at a screaming and squalid plateau. From there, it’s actually possible for the band to see the waste they’ve laid to the previous ten tracks and, quizzically, you can almost hear all five members of the band smile; they came, they saw, and they conquered.

Artist:

The Bronx Online

The Bronx myspace

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