Ask any of their fans and you’ll likely be told that THE BRONX are one of the most underappreciated bands in modern punk. Their first three albums are all considered classics of the highest standard. And the fact that an album as good as IV was considered a misstep by some should give you an idea of how highly some hold this band. So does V live up to the standards of the first three albums?
The short answer is yes, mostly anyway. V features more of the blistering punk fury that THE BRONX have always been so great at. Opener Night Drop at the Glue Factory rages out the speakers with fuzzed up guitars and Matt Caughthrans furious vocals. Stranger Danger opens with a sleazy bassline before giving way to more raging punk rock but it’s track three where they start to change things up. More melodic rock songs are nothing new for THE BRONX as they tried their hands at it on IV. But this time round the results are far more satisfying.
Side Effects soaring chorus and sits nicely alongside the jagged riffing. None of the attitude is lost, it just takes on a more radio friendly sound. And if this makes more people pay attention to THE BRONX then that certainly isn’t a bad thing. Channel Islands has an almost summery vibe to it and is followed by the albums most playful moment in Two Birds. These songs show just how much THE BRONX have grown as songwriters. They are now capable of delivering far more than raging punk songs.
Still as nice as these songs are, there’s no denying that THE BRONX are still at their best when they are just trying to rip your face clean off with white hot fury. Lead single Sore Throat sounds like it would be right at home on any of the first three albums. If anything the poppier moments on the album allow songs like Sore Throat to have more of an impact. V is certainly a record that never lets the listener settle down.
One of the most defining characteristics of this album is just how cool it sounds. From the production job to the performance, everything just oozes style and charisma. It all just comes so naturally from the band, as if they just know they are cooler than almost every other band out there. Everything sounds slick without sounding overproduced either. It’s the sort of album that could sound just as good in tiny basement venues and festival main stages.
V is just another great record from one of punks most reliable bands. Previous experiments are now refined and the band still deliver plenty for old school fans. It’s clear that this is an older and wiser band than the one who released those early albums but they can still rage just as hard.
V is out now via Cooking Vinyl/ATO Records.
Like THE BRONX on Facebook.