The fifth in a series of self-titled albums and their first in four years finds LA punks The Bronx in a curious position. While their reputation was crafted around the blind fury of the chaos they created both on record and on stage, 2013’s IV eschewed their signature ferocity in favour of a more considered version of punk rock. These punks had grown up, and their fans weren’t entirely happy about it.
But it’s disingenuous to claim that The Bronx have lost any of their potency on this record. Those who were disappointed with IV will find similar gripes with V, but in harnessing their fury the band’s ability to craft a brilliant pop song has surfaced. While the frenzied punk rock of lead-off single Sore Throat finds them as urgent and direct as they’ve ever been, V is the sound of a band acknowledging that there’s more to their sound than that. It swings between buoyant hardcore punk, heritage-heavy hard rock and snotty, brattish proto-punk, all polished to a modern sheen.
It’s not all hit – there’s the borderline derivative glam-metal of Two Birds, and the wholly less arresting pop-punk of Side Effects – but this is loud, proficient punk rock which should leave even the most curmudgeonly listener fist-punching with glee.