"The Bronx (III)"

(White Drugs/Stay Platinum/Original Signal 2008)Bronx - The Bronx (III)

Some bands have a vibe and a sound that just can’t be recorded accurately. Others fall apart when they try to transition from the safety of the recording studio to the stage, their safety net suddenly gone. The first time I “saw” The Bronx perform was nearly five years ago when they opened for The Dwarves in Philly. I say “saw” because the smoke machines were so out of control that you couldn’t see anything; it was like a bomb went off on stage at the Trocadero. Then last year I caught the band during their stint on Warped Tour. Assuming you catch them smoke-free, The Bronx seem to shine when they perform live, delivering a high level of energy and intensity that screams “I don’t care” while giving you the finger.

The Bronx certainly tries to branch out with this new album. But the band are careful not to over do it. A guitar riff digs in and hits the gas as the driving “Knifeman” reminds of a more fully staffed Local H doing a cover of Motörhead’s “One To Sing The Blues” while the hard rock thrash of “Past Lives” offers up a chorus that’s shockingly catchy and even has that sing along quality. But the most obvious tweaks they offer come from vocalist Matt Caughtran. The sandpaper-throated frontman sings a clean-cut interlude on “Inveigh” so nice you know his mom is beaming with pride although, no doubt, she already was. The Bronx roar back, however, with their loudest and their hardest side on closing track “Digital Leash” as Caughtran’s vocal chorus offers one last and final hurrah.

Some of the band’s intensity and sound does translate to their recordings and some of it doesn’t. The band’s most recent full-length release (or, if you’re keeping track, their third self-titled album; how Weezer of them...) hits hard but maybe a little less than its predecessors. But from track to track and album to album, The Bronx maintains a fairly consistent sound. “The Bronx (III)” is no different with its full-blown adrenaline rush.


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