The Bronx, “The Bronx IV” LP
The new album from the Bronx keeps getting hailed as the band "returning to form" or some such nonsense after two albums as Mariachi el Bronx. Poppycock, I say. While definitely heavier than the mariachi albums, The Bronx IV isn't the furious, rambunctious tones of the band's earlier albums. At one point, singer Matt Caughthran's vocals sounded like he was shredding his vocal chords with each and every song. The desperate howls of "Bats!", "History's Stranglers" or "They Will Kill Us All (Without Mercy)" are not to be found on IV. Perhaps it's the crooning to which Caughthran has been accustomed lately, but these songs are sung, not screamed. That would fine, except for the fact that the music's calmed down a bit, too. It's cleaned up a bit -- the Bronx now sounds like an AOR version of the Hives. The band sounds like any number of acts plying their trade about the modern rock airwaves these days, lacking the fury and verve with which they once confronted listeners. "Under the Rabbit" comes close, but for the most part, this album was a chore to listen to, and I doubt I'll be returning to it any time soon. To sum up, and make this clear as possible, let's lay it out there: the Bronx have lost their metal and become hard rock. It's not that they've become a shitty band so much as they've lost anything that differentiated them from the maddening crowd of Shinedown or the like. Listen to them justify their new record with commentary below, via Soundcloud.