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IV

I have always fancied myself as a man possessing a particular musical malleability… meaning the genre or style of a song wasn’t important to me, as long as the tune speaks to me. That guiding principle has remained true throughout my entire career as a performing artist and has extended into efforts in writing about music as well. As such, I find it odd that I always feel as though I’m behind the curve or speaking out of turn when it comes to punk music.
 
I think the community itself has such a reputation for being exclusionary that I’ve never felt invited to that particular party. I haven’t listened to the Sex Pistols or The Ramones with enough frequency to count myself a fan. I don’t own a Clash tee-shirt. Whenever I fly the flag for Social Distortion or Bad Religion I’m met with quizzical looks more often than not.
 
For me, the complexion is a little different from most dyed-in-the-wool punk-rock kids. I learned how to play guitar by playing along to (early) Green Day, (early) Goo Goo Dolls, Offspring and Lit records. I figured if I could keep up with their speed I could officially consider myself a guitarist. As my skill-set grew, I would always point to those artists as having a major influence in forming my playing style. As a child of punk by proxy, when I hear other bands with a similar sensibility it really speaks to me— and as of right now The Bronx definitely has my attention.
 
This L.A.-based punk juggernaut has been making a loud and powerful noise for quite some time, and I am not ashamed to say I am ten years late to the prom in embracing the group. With that said, I could not have wished for a better introduction to the band than their 2013 release, eponymously titled (as are all their full-lengths) The Bronx (IV). The album is a frenzied face-wash sonic speed-ball… or to put it differently, a pure punk powder keg.
This record is packed with inexhaustible energy and the surest sense of melody I’ve heard from a band of their ilk in ages. From the record’s unassailably infectious opener, “The Unholy Hand,” to the rhapsodic gut-punch, “Too Many Devils,” through the pulsing, funk-infused closer, “Last Revelation,” the fourth installment in the Bronx discography barrels at a break-neck pace with the pedal welded to floor.
 
What’s truly captivating about the disc is the band’s incredible proficiency with dynamic and pacing. There is an unerring musicality to the tunes, and tempos shift so delicately as to adjust your center of gravity while simultaneously keeping your head bouncing— artfully augmenting the record’s vitality and engrossing the listener without causing ear exhaustion.
 
The chorus-lines are anthemic, stirring and incurably pestilential. Lines like, “Sometimes the best-laid plans still end with blood on your hands,” or, “Are you the Antichrist or the Holy Ghost— do you wanna die or just come real close?” soar above the roiling instrumental din forcing your fists to fly skyward by some innate reflex. Their adept embedding of vocal harmony to buoy Matt Caughthran’s piercing screams really evoke the best of Bad Religion’s efforts while providing an air of sophistication to the otherwise grating intensity of the tunes.
 
There are calm eyes within the storm; songs like, “Torches,” and, “Life Less Ordinary,” arise to allow the briefest of reprieves from the scorching ferocity of the other material. With that said, this is still a record that springs onto your shoulders and pummels you into the dirt at every opportunity. It’s a phenomenal palate cleanser amid the sea of rock, pop, folk and electronica that often finds me.
 
TheBronx
 
If you fancy yourself a fan of punk or rock music in the slightest, this is a record that will certainly sit well within your headphones. The songs are dynamic, the lyrics adroitly penned, the energy effusive and the screams so primal that they will spike straight into your central nervous system causing involuntary spasms.  If that’s not an endorsement, I don’t know what is.
 


 
Concerning the above video I will have to note that, as stated in their press release, if you’re going to watch it DEFINITELY borders on NSFW and may result in ceaseless ribbing from your friends if they catch you watching a video with male strippers. Consider yourselves warned.
 
For fans of Bad Religion, The Foo Fighters, The Hives, My Chemical Romance
 
 

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