10 years is a long time in the life of a band. Hard living, relentless touring, and creative differences – perhaps band years should be likened to dog years, with one long band year the equivalent of seven non-musical ones.
The Bronx (IV) marks a decade since the release of the LA punk stalwarts’ eponymous debut album. In that time they’ve delivered three dynamic punk rock LPs, and two mariachi records as Mariachi El Bronx
The purveyors of hardcore punk must have been in an uncharacteristically cheerful mood when they recorded this latest offering, because The Bronx (IV) is a marked change of pace for a band revered for their venomous energy and insurrectionary live shows.
In fact, the only tracks that conjure up The Bronx’s punk racket of old are opening track “The Unholy Hand” with Matt Caughthran’s rasping vocals and a chorus that sticks, and “Under The Rabbit”, a glorious cacophony of raw energy and aggressive instrumentation.
Hardcore punk aficionados may be left scratching their mohawked heads at the rest of this album.
“Too Many Devils” bursts in with a rocking intro, only to lapse into limpid vocal harmonies, leading one to wonder if too many devils have been tinkering with the vocal mix.
“Style Over Everything” is another track that starts off promisingly, with a QOTSA flavoured riff, but overproduced guitar layering and saccharine vocal styling set a disappointing trend that dominates most of the record.
There are glimpses of The Bronx’s trademark riotous energy on The Bronx (IV) but it’s an album that may prove too melodious for fans of the band’s harder, rougher aesthetic.
The Bronx have definitely slowed down and mellowed out – but they are 70 years old in band years, after all.