The Bronx – ‘Bronx VI’

By Ash Bebbington

Realistically, this review could be two sentences long. If so, it would go something like this: The Bronx doesn’t make bad records. If you like the band already, you have to listen to ‘The Bronx VI’.

That’s because it’s hard to review an album like this – it’s another Bronx record, and it’s glorious. It doesn’t do anything radically different from the previous five, but it does give fans more of what they want, adding another eleven killer tracks to the Californian punks’ repertoire in the process. For the uninitiated, The Bronx make brash, energetic punk rock with few frills; if you’re looking for a punk record that delivers a handful of punk anthems in under half an hour, ‘Bronx VI’ is certainly worth your time. If you like it, you’ve got a stellar back catalogue to get stuck into as well – this album is the sound of a band who long ago found their trademark style and are happy to keep delivering that to their adoring fans.

With all that said, The Bronx’s style has still shifted slightly over time. If you were to put ‘Bronx VI’ alongside their self-titled 2003 debut, you’d certainly notice the difference. As their career has gone on, the pendulum on their brand of ‘punk rock infused with a classic rock swagger’ has swung more and more in favour of classic rock, and so it proves here, and this is their most classic rock inspired album to date. This is best evidenced on ‘Watering the Well,’ a laid-back, carefree track with summery riffs and even a couple of guitar solos.

The Bronx are, however, still a punk band, and this is still completely and unashamedly a punk record. Tracks such as ‘Curb Feelers’, ‘White Shadow’ and ‘Breaking News’ still scratch that classic punk itch, and even the least traditionally ‘punk’ tracks on the record have that snarl and grit associated with the genre.

The Bronx have an uncanny knack for writing songs that you feel like you’ve heard a million times before, in a good way. If you’re already a fan, pushing play on this will be like reconnecting with an old friend. You’ve both changed a bit and got some new stories to tell, but that same sense of warmth and familiarity still exists and within seconds you feel like you’d never been apart. The songs are so instantaneous that after one listen you’ll be ready to get in the pit and bellow out the choruses at the top of your lungs.

There’s also just something undeniably cool about any Bronx record, and that’s certainly the case with ‘Bronx VI’. Go for a walk with this album playing on your headphones, and you’ll be ready to puff your chest out and stomp around like you’re ready to take on the world, even if you’re only going to the supermarket.

The Bronx are a band that are aging with grace and integrity. While their music doesn’t have the biting ferocity it once had, their ability and determination to keep creating punk rock of the very highest quality is something to be admired. With ‘Bronx VI’, the Los Angeles punks have achieved six great records out of six. Long live The Bronx.

ASH BEBBINGTON

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