The Bronx’s sound has always been as close to the Platonic form of the rock n’ roll spirit as you can get; the perfect accompaniment to drinking, driving off ramps, gambling, mainlining coke, filibustering, tattooing yourself, shooting the most phallic of guns, fist-fighting and fucking, all at the same time (but maybe not with the same person for those last two).
With their fourth eponymous LP and first release in five years, the L.A punks have made a push towards more melodic territory, without compromising on their totally unique character.
Matt Caughthran’s vocals maintain their incredible rasp but feel more refined, a little more soulful this time. The song-writing in general ties in with this relatively less acerbic aesthetic, for the most part eschewing the more obvious testosterone fuelled outbursts of their past for bigger, catchier hooks, influenced by the band’s collective alter-egos, Mariachi el Bronx. IV’s power lies in its soul and finesse, rather than its overt toughness, more Bruce Lee than Bruce Banner. Still, it ain’t nuttin to fuck with.
Opening track ‘The Unholy Hand’, 'Style Over Everything' and ‘Under the Rabbit’ fill the quota for primal, inexorable scorchers, with ‘Torches’ and ‘Life Less Ordinary’ covering the singularly mellow bases, the latter being particularly reminiscent of II’s ‘Dirty Leaves’.
IV’s sheen and accessibility situate this album closer to the middle of the road, relative to their previous efforts, but since this is The Bronx we’re talking about you can rest assured that it’s ready to run into oncoming traffic.
Best Tracks: The Unholy Hand, Style Over Everything, Under the Rabbit, Ribcage, Life Less Ordinary