Male Bonding - Endless Now
A mere year and a bit after their debut Nothing Hurts, London trio Male Bonding are back and, perhaps unsurprisingly, little has changed but, initially, this is no bad thing. Thanks to their excellent ear for a riff - 'What's That Scene?' and 'Dig You Out' will linger long before the end of their respective first verses - and intense ferocious tempo that make up their lo-fi grunge rock, the 36 minutes that make up Endless Now fly by, barely leaving you time to breathe with the tracks pummeling into your subconscious in spite of their brevity. It's not that they haven't expanded a touch though; tracks actually last beyond three minutes now including the epic, four-chord 'Bones' that feels like an opus in comparison to anything that's come before. However, this expansion is limited and despite the touching acoustic ditty 'The Saddle' - "If it still hurts, find a saddle / I won't be around for long" - a lack of variation and invention is clear. They've never sounded sharper but on the whole, Endless Now feels like it could have been compiled from an overflow of tracks from Nothing Hurts and while some will view that as a positive, it's potentially not a rich enough vein to mine come their third effort. For once, we'd be happy to wait a touch longer for the follow-up...not too long though.