Well folks, it looks like The Bronx is back and let me tell you, they are sounding pretty damn amazing. Setting aside their mariachi project, Mariachi El Bronx, the band is back in full rock-out mode and just dropped an all new, impressive release. Keeping up with trend of their previous three releases, The Bronx (IV) completely rules in every way possible. As a fan, I may be a tad biased, but having listened to it over and over for a week now, I can honestly tell you all that this album is one of the best I have heard of this year, and the year has not even technically started yet.
“The Unholy Land” started off the fun, poignant album with a more rock feel. Perhaps the Foo Fighters rubbed off on them a tad when Mariachi El Bronx toured with them a couple years back, but I assure you this track still owns. Caughthran sings “I am the anti-Christ of the holy ghost, do you want to die or just come real close” hard throughout this track with the rest of the band just cutting loose. I especially loved the latter guitar breakdown.
“Youth Wasted” had a certain 80s punk vibe to it that I came to appreciate early on. Sure, it was not broken down and raw as one might expect when you compare such an era, but perhaps the lyrics “youth is not wasted, I’m young” is what prompted me to think back. The heavy “Too Many Devils” did not capture my attention my first listen, but once I heard it again, I loved it.
“You can not change the life you’re born to live” started and ended the 90s alt sounding “Torches”. The lyrics were incredible throughout as was the music that spend up and slowed down this jam. Sure this was not the hardest, heaviest track on the album, but it was by far one of the best to listen to. “Under The Rabbit” followed with melt-your-face moments that recalled prior Bronx tracks from previous releases. “Ribcage” was another track that caught me in a good way. Maybe it was the speed of the song, or just the overall theme of the track with an apparent crime interrogation that just kept things so entertaining.
Caughthran cleared his throat throughout “Life Less Ordinary”. The track, which had nothing to do with that terrible Cameron Diaz and Ewan McGregor movie, might have been conceived during the Mariachi El Bronx days as it is toned down and carried duel vocals, but I am not complaining at all. I really dug this track a lot and just listening to it seemed like a confession “I’m not ashamed to say I’ve lost my mind” when sung just sounded so sincere.
The Los Angeles punk rock act has always been a band I have appreciated since their original release about 10 years ago. What is nice to see is the level of maturity they have reached. The lyrics are more meaningful than ever and spite that you may think, this band has not even come close to going soft. Where the mariachi side project was fun, I longed for some of their wholesome rock / punk / goodness and IV delivers. I firmly believe this is the album, if not already, that people will be talking about this year. There are so many bands you can hear throughout this album including Refused, The Strokes, The Pixies, Nirvana, Against Me!, and even Helmet that is not hard to find something about it to obsess over.