The Bronx - The Bronx III
Well now this is what you need to wake yourself up on a cold, bitter winter’s morning. The Bronx return with their third self-titled album and the result is quite possibly 2008’s loudest album and definitely one of its most brilliant. It’s so loud, that even thesaurus.com would struggle to come up with enough synonyms to describe its brutally heavy riffs, but I’ll give it a go.
Knifeman kicks things off literally with Matt Caughthran’s vocals pummelling through a symphony of instrument-based carnage. Symphony is perhaps the wrong word as it conveys a sense of order and order is not a word in The Bronx’s vocabulary, with everyone competing to burst the most eardrums inside three minutes. This all combines to create one of the most thrilling opening songs of this year and if you’re not head banging along by the end of it, you might want to check your pulse.
Inveigh starts off tamely by comparison but once it gets going, it never lets you catch your breath. It showcases The Bronx’s talent to craft a song with its numerous tempo changes, alongside their un-relenting cacophony of riffs and hooks strong enough to hang a picture on. Past Lives carries on in the same frantic fashion with Caughthran preaching that “Maybe in the next life/I’ll be a hero and not a criminal”. He doesn’t need to wait until the next life, he’s already gained hero status for me along with all the band members.
The best two choruses of the album are on display in the next two songs, one for its simplicity and the other for its lyrics. Enemy Mind delivers a rabble-rousing duel vocal of “Let it be mine/Let this be mine”, each time sung with more brute power than the last, in unison with the now expected fierce riffs. Pleasure Seekers demonstrates The Bronx’s more subtle touches with a superbly ironic chorus of “All we really want is someone to ignore us/Cos all we ever get are people who control us”. Ignoring the fact that I fear for anyone who tried to control The Bronx, someone should tell the lads that if they want to be ignored, they should stop making such a glorious racket.
A slight mid-album stumble is signalled by the trio of Six Days A Week, Young Bloods and Ship High In Transit but don’t mistake that for me saying they are bad tracks. While they are definitely filler compared to the extremely high standard of tracks that preceded them, they still deliver more intense and unadulterated thrills than most punk rock bands can even dream of. It’s just that there is nothing really to mark them out as stunning tracks, merely very good ones.
If anyone is wondering just how much noise can be created with just four people and instruments, then have a listen to Minutes In Night. It is the very definition of musical pandemonium, even challenging Knifeman as the album’s most raucous track. Playing it on a pub jukebox would even get a bar full of pacifists brawling it out given the amount of testosterone oozing out of every crunching note of the track.
The final two tracks on the album highlight just how good Matt Caughthran’s voice is. Spanish Handshake has him powerfully proclaiming “I am an addict, an animal/I am my father’s son” and if there’s anyone out there who could deliver that line with as much intensity and belief as he does, then I’ve yet to hear them. Digital Leash has him deliver the frankly nonsensical line of “When I feel like the world is just within my reach/They pull my digital leash”, and yet it makes you want to find ‘they’ and demand they stop pulling whatever his ‘digital leash’ is.
The Bronx are certainly not for the faint hearted as even with its relatively short running time of just over 30 minutes, it makes you feel as though you’ve just run up Mount Everest in a diver’s suit. But for anyone who appreciates ‘balls out of the bath’* rock, then you’ve found your holy grail with The Bronx.
*For anyone who doesn’t understand the deep and subtle meaning behind this phrase, it means bold or confident. It’s just put slightly more obscenely.
Last updated: 18/04/2018 21:27:19