The Bronx - Bronx VI (Cover Artwork)

The Bronx

Bronx VI (2021)

Cooking Vinyl

It would be hard to argue against the assertion that the world is a more fun and vibrant place because The Bronx exist. For almost 20 years now the SoCal natives have been playing and releasing their own infectious brand of rock ’n’ roll-infused punk, soundtracking innumerable nights of fun and misbehaviour along the way. They also seem to be one of those bands who have very few (if any) detractors. The Bronx have an inimitable combination of cool and quality, basically. Add to that there aren’t really any bands who sound like them and you’ll begin to see why they’ve been clutched to the bosom of punk, rock and even metal fans for the best part of the last 2 decades. However, last record Bronx V released in September 2017 received more lukewarm reviews than any of its predecessors and Bronx IV before that was also perceived as a mellowing of their trademark sound from Bronx III. So 4 years on, and at (hopefully) the tail end of a global pandemic, what have the perennial good-time peddlers produced for record No.6?

Well you don’t need to worry about this being another introspective lockdown record, that’s for damn sure. The five-piece sound, intermittently at least, as fired up as they have done in some time. The record kicks off with recent single “White Shadow” which could scarcely be more of a major-key party starter, frankly. It’s white-knuckle stuff from the get-go. Singalong chorus, wild solo and heaps of momentum from start to finish. In fact, the last 45 seconds or so are some of the most emphatic and unashamedly joyous punk I’ve heard this year. And it doesn’t let up. Another single “Superbloom” is up next which is possibly even more raucous. In fact, the first 4 tracks are all recent singles so suffice to say it absolutely roars out of the gate. The only issue with this is that you’re inevitably going to hit a dip at some point. Being The Bronx though, the dips are less in quality and more in intensity. “Peace Pipe” is where that first happens but with its ‘Whoa-oh-oh’s, lyrics about standing in a graveyard and the reaper turning up set against chunky guitars and propulsive drumming, there’s still a lot to love here. It feels like something that could be on the Dazed and Confused soundtrack somehow and I’m more than alright with that.

Although The Bronx do have a very distinctive sound, throughout the record there are subtle variations that the band lean into. “High Five” has squally, wig-out guitars throughout and “Mexican Summer” predictably has a little influence from the Mariachi El Bronx project but the bedrock of the sound that so many have come to know and love is still there front and centre for most of the record and it would be bitterly disappointing if that weren’t the case to be honest. To me, this record feels wilder and on the whole, built on better songwriting than the last couple, but it does still feel more based in rock ‘n’ roll than the first few records. “Participation Trophy” could just as easily have been an Oasis song once upon a time, for example. The conclusion I’m coming to though, is that in a catalogue of wonderful records, this is another one. Yes, the summer is coming to a close, but play this record loud this weekend. Get some buds over for a BBQ and some beers and you’ll have a great time. And as is often the case with The Bronx, you’ll (hopefully) get the chance to fall in love with the songs all over again when they come to play at a town near you, and that is a deeply pleasing thought.