The Bronx – IV

    Over the course of three stellar albums The Bronx have positioned themselves as the go to guys for the Punk purists pursuit of danger, unpredictability and raw, scathing noise. With such a compelling back catalogue it could be argued that if any modern Punk band deserve a shot at wider mainstream acceptance and approval then surely these are the folks that do so. With their fourth album they may have just written their best chance at it.

    Unfortunately in doing so they have created a bit of a conundrum, for while there is little that is bad about this album there is a similar lack of the grit, fire and swagger that we have come to take for granted from The Bronx. Instead they have delivered an acceptable modern Punk(y) Rock record that owes as much to Bruce Springsteen as it does Black Flag and recalls the Foo Fighters as much as Fugazi. In the hands of many bands this would be seen as a result, with The Bronx it leaves a weighty “what if?” hanging from it.

    To say it starts promisingly is an understatement, as opener ‘The Unholy Hand’ is classic Bronx, fast, gruff and effortlessly cool. It sounds as if it was written and recorded in about two minutes after a heavy night’s brawling and drinking, and is everything that good Punk Rock should be. So far, so Bronx. It’s only really about half way through that you realise that there hasn’t been a moment since that can hold a candle to it. That the production feels a little too clean, that the songs always threaten to rip your head off but never actually do, that Matt Caughthran’s usual blood gurgling vocals sound slightly more sedate, that The Bronx sound a bit… average.

    The quality of that first track only really returns at the very end of the album with ‘A Life Less Ordinary’, ironically a slow burning, ballad-esque, whiskey soaked lament. It’s quite unlike anything The Bronx have ever done before and hints at what could have been.

    As it is Bronx IV is an enjoyable Rock and Roll album, which for a band that inspires such devotion is simply not enough. Previously The Bronx have sounded like they would die for their music, here you seriously question whether they would graze a knee for it.

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