ATO/ White Drugs ( Release date – out now)
It has been five years since the last Bronx album. During the intervening period the band have been far from idle, touring constantly and releasing an album under their alter ego, Mariachi El Bronx. So has the wait been worth it?
As soon as the opening number ‘The Unholy Hand’ kicks in it is apparent that the band are still as angry and pissed off with the world as they were five years ago. The song is a classy piece of hardcore played with The Bronx usual keen sense of melody.
Another factor that is evident from the off and continues throughout the album is the change in vocal delivery from frontman Matt Caughthran. On previous albums Matt has tended to spit out his lyrics in a quickfire, hardcore tirade, but on this album he has toned that down for the most part and tends to sing more. I had read prior to hearing the album that his vocal confidence had been boosted by his Mariachi performances and on listening to the disc you can definitely hear the change which is all the better in my view.
The one thing though that sets The Bronx apart from other bands in their genre is their songwriting ability. The guys are capable of writing tracks that are angst ridden and carry a strong social message, but they all have hooks that will stick in your head for days. You only have to play ‘Along For The Ride’, ‘Torches’ or ‘Ribcage’ as evidence of this. Anyone familiar with the band’s Mariachi output will be well aware that the guys are capable of musicianship of the highest calibre.
I would understand though if there are a few dissenting voices from diehard fans as there is a definite softening on certain tracks on the album. The song ‘Life Less Ordinary’ is a good case in point, it features just Matt’s vocal and Joby Ford on guitar and is as close to a ballad as the band could hope to get without fans crying ‘sell out’. For me though what The Bronx have achieved on this release is to take their hardcore roots and blend them with all they have learned when touring in both their guises over the last five years to great effect.
As always The Bronx continue to develop their own sound, break down established barriers and refuse to conform to what people expect them to be. Like a fine wine the band continue to mature nicely, but they can still kick like a mule when uncorked. It will take something very special to remove this from my top spot come the end of the year lists.
On Sunday 28 July 2019, David Randall celebrated his 600th show. “Assume The Position” started in June 2007 on UK City Radio before transferring a year later to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio. The show includes tracks played on the first show plus Upton Blues Festival highlights, new music and the regular features “Live Legends” and “Anniversary Rock” which this week celebrates the Island Records label 60th anniversary.
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Power Plays w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)
BEFORE FIRE Dead Eyes (indie)
SCOTT & MARIA Never Give Up (indie)
CORELEONI Queen Of Hearts (AFM Records)
BERLIN Transcendance (Cleopatra Records)
PHIL CAMPBELL These Old Boots (Nuclear Blast)
PHIL LANZON Blue Mountain (Phil Lanzon Ditties/Cargo Records UK)
Featured Albums w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 SOLEIL MOON Warrior (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 ROXY BLUE Roxy Blue (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 DREW HOLCOMB & THE NEIGHBORS Dragons (Magnolia Music/Thirty Tigers)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
JAMES STEVENSON Everything’s Getting Closer To Being Over (2013)
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