The Bronx - The Bronx (2003) (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Bronx

The Bronx (2003) (2003)

White Drugs / Ferret

On record, The Bronx succeed where other hyped bands fail because they completely deliver on their promise. Unlike New York's garage revivalists there is no sense of irony or trend baiting in this album. The Californian band's punk rock is refreshingly raw and genuine: stripped of the pop-rock, emo and metal influences that so many bands are awash in. It's funny that there's such a lack of ostentation here, as this is one of the few albums of late that would warrant it.

"Heart Attack American" is a perfect opening shot. I'm sure more than a few people turned up the volume upon hearing the song's (purposely low) intro only to be blasted by Matt Caughthran's initial scream. Joby Ford's dirty, metallic surf-guitar licks drive the album, a style not unlike East Bay Ray's playing with the Dead Kennedys. Equally compelling is the rhythm section James Tweedy and Jorma Vik, providing the band with a strong, rhythmic core but never falling behind the breakneck speeds of guitars and vocals. There's quite a few great bass and drum fills peppered throughout the record as well. Things only slow down (relatively) for the moody album closing "Strobe Life."

Caughthran's vocals lie partway between Dennis Lyxzén and Eric Ozenne, so fans of Refused or the Nerve Agents should definitely give this a spin. Hidden beneath all the rage however is a keen sense of good pop melody. You can hear this on the many of the tracks and it grounds the band surprisingly well. While defiantly brutalizing his vocal chords, Caughthran thankfully keeps things far away from both emo-shrieking and gruff metalcore-barking. Again, this makes The Bronx sound more realistic and less genre-dependent. The band's flaws-intact live-style recording of the songs does the same.

There's nothing profound to explain about The Bronx, other then the fact that they're making a familiar set of characteristics sound incredibly good. The Bronx's debut is a scathing, pretence-free, well written and played and punk rock record.