Not many tricks up their sleeves on this album. The Bronx make more of the same noisy, aggressive songs on an album with the same title as their last two.
The Bronx are an LA punk rock band who have a peculiar habit of titling their records eponymously (this being the group’s third self-titled LP). Albums like this render criticism irrelevant in many ways; every song is more or less the same, and the band are ferociously dedicated to honing their gurning, hard-riffing sound as bloody-mindedly as possible. If you hear one track and dislike it, you have no real reason to listen any further. If you enjoy one track, then there is every chance you will like all 11.
And of course, there are those of us who find every track mildly diverting but ultimately unremarkable. This is not MTV punk; rather, it is noisy, aggressive and melody-free. Those who have the stomach for more than 30 minutes of undeniably dynamic but ear-bleedingly tuneless hard-rocking will be charmed, but this listener found himself yearning for a little manicured pop-punk in the Blink 182 vein after prolonged exposure to this racket.
Selecting standouts on The Bronx is a nigh on impossible task. Perhaps one could argue that ‘Enemy Mind’ and ‘Digital Leash’ pack a slightly greater punch than the remainder of the record, but the margin of superiority is slim indeed. These standout tracks may rock a little harder and faster and tighter than others, but on an album purely devoted to rocking as hard and tight and fast as possible from beginning to end it would take an observant listener to notice.
A change of pace may have done something to draw in floating voters, but one is not forthcoming. Matt Caughthran’s harsh, caustic vocal style also serves to enhance the record’s polarising nature.
Word has it that The Bronx’s next release will be a mariachi LP, so perhaps there are more strings to the group’s bow than this record would indicate. But while there is much to admire about The Bronx’s uncompromising nature, this listener found very little to actually enjoy.