“I wanna be original/I wanna be surrounded by art” Matt Caughthran’s throaty yelp opens his band’s third self-titled album. The Bronx seem a band more assured of their own individuality than most of their listeners probably are. True enough, there’s more of a groove to the thrash of the (confusingly enough) LA-based five-piece than most bands of their magnetism can squeeze out, but innovators extraordinaire they are not. Rather, The Bronx’s calling card is a chorus bigger than the Sunset Strip – so much so that Knifeman’s hook “Out here on the boulevard/You’ve got to hold it together” comes off more Axl Rose than Iggy Pop.
One of the album’s recurring themes is the death of passion and overriding passivity of American youth, an accusation that couldn’t be railed at Caughthran’s earthquake-inducing vocals (see Six Days A Week twelve-second-long scream assault for an ear-shattering example). He could be labelmate Les Savy Fav frontman Tim Harrington’s more polemical brother, more concerned with bemoaning the disaffected youth than getting a party started; Spanish Handshake’s high energy chorus “I am an addict/An animal/Oh I am my father’s son” and memorably melodic verses could do the latter job just as well, nevertheless. The thrashy passion doesn’t threaten to burn out for one second on the band’s third collection, the Bronx have brought more fuel to the inferno than ever before.
The band’s last major label effort lost reams of fans due to its sheer accessibility. The Bronx stand apart from the regular Warped Tour fare, thanks to a glammier melodicism with its crosshairs on pop’s jugular, even if it does render them less legitimately litigous with a mainstream sheen. If you’re in the market for energy over originality, here’s just the eleven-pack of adrenaline injections the doctor ordered.
See also: Fugazi- Steady Diet Of Nothing