The Bronx - V album review

West coast punk rockers get their attack back on track

Cover art for The Bronx - V album

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While anyone who found 2013’s fourth Bronx album disappointing could be accused of being overly stern in their marking, it’s undeniable that it was the least impressive member of a discography that had failed to put a foot wrong up until that point. Luckily for us, those sky-high standards are met once again on their fifth full-length. If the previous record suffered a little from a slightly cleaner production, something that doesn’t suit The Bronx’s high-octane musical speedball of chaos and energy, then the opening rasp of Joby J Ford and Ken Horne’s guitars belching from the speakers on Night Drop At The Glue Factory is a statement to show that they same mistakes won’t be happening again. The sleazy gutter punk of second track Stranger Danger is even better, with Matt Caughthran screaming about the Summer of Sam over the filthiest Stooges impersonation you’ll hear this year. But don’t pigeonhole The Bronx as just a shit-kicking gang of punk rock reprobates – there is far more to V than just 0-60 reckless abandon. The wah-wah power pop of Two Birds through to the anthemicalt-rock of Chordless Kids show just how accomplished and varied a group of musicians The Bronx can be. Ultimately, though, they’re at their very best when they are channelling the spirit of the early punk nihilism of Black Flag and the rest of their 80s hardcore brethren, and songs like the aptly named Sore Throat is 183 seconds that perfectly encapsulates the appeal and longevity of this band. It’s one of life’s great mysteries why this band aren’t one of the biggest names in the world of punk rock, and after five records with hardly a dip in quality in 15 years together, it looks doubtful whether it will ever happen for The Bronx at this point in their career. Regardless, this is yet another stellar record from one of modern punk rock’s truly great outfits, and if you’d slept on them before then V should be the moment where you wake up and give them their well-deserved dues.

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.