bronx v

The Bronx – BRVNX (V)

As their fifth self-titled album under the The Bronx branch of their music, fans are expecting the latest album by the LA punks to be refined and high quality – two features which come in abundance in just about every track.

Opening track Night Drop at the Glue Factory is raw and overdriven from the start, before introducing distorted vocals that bring the sound almost to a hardcore-influenced Foo Fighters vibe which is executed fantastically. Fuzz-fuelled solos and hard-hit pacey drum parts. The seamless transition into Stranger Danger is the first but most certainly not the last, as the five-piece glide seamlessly between sub-genres with every track.

The album demonstrates something for everyone: hardcore elements in Sore Throat, a power-blues feel in Broken Arrow, some softer (almost indie) rock aspects in Side Effects that would fit immaculately into any time of day on Radio X among others, and tracks including Two Birds and Channel Islands have tones almost resembling classic 80’s crunch rock sounds to bring the album a retro side with wah ripping up and down through the frequency bands to provide a depth to the riff sounds throughout all of the guitar fill work present on the song.

It is often easy to pick some standout pieces from albums to separate the wheat from the chaff ahead of listeners’ first experience, but every song on BRVNX is just as strong as each other – the deciding factor on a favourite for fans is likely to be which subgenres of rock they prefer most and how they like the band’s execution of said style!

Vocally, the album is just as diverse as the instrumental styles. Frontman Matt Caughthran manages to pitch his vocal frequencies to cut through the mix through every style of rock The Bronx display so well, showing his diversity when contrasting more hardcore tracks like Sore Throat which features fairly heavily distorted sounds the whole way through with Side Effects which provides far more melodic and dry vocal work.

In terms of production, the band have gelled amazingly with Rob Schnapf (Beck, FIDLAR) to create a collection that showcases the various points of talent they hold in a style where they seem incredibly comfortable. Seamless transitions between elements in every song illustrate the songwriting capabilities they have been honing over the past fifteen years and it feels like that side of The Bronx has come into fruition now more than ever in this cycle.

Overall, the confidence and songwriting prowess of all involved have made this album a force to be reckoned with – a certain contender for a lot of ‘album of the year’ lists!

LIVE : Less Than Jake – 02 Academy Sheffield – 04.10.16

The general public strolling down Arundel Gate this evening look on as a swarm of old and young alike queue to get into Sheffield’s 02 Academy. Its quite the turnout for the Ska-Punk legends, but at Ten English pounds for a line up as varied and brimming with dancability as this, you’d be a fool to be a rock fan in Sheffield tonight and not be in attendance.

Mariachi El Bronx, for those unaware, is the alter ego of LA punk n’ rollers The Bronx. An eight-piece Mariachi band, they are the most fun anyone could have at a rock show, without actually watching a rock band. Frontman Matt Caughthran embraces his role as band leader with a sly wink, encouraging the audience to dance along to would- be-classics Revolution Girls and 48 Roses with all the charm of a genuine Mexican troubadour. As odd as Mariachi El Bronx seem at first glance on any bill, they certainly capture the hearts of the crowd here, and with gloriously celebratory numbers like High Tide, it’s no surprise at all. [8/10]

Londoner’s The Skints are a fine choice for tonight’s show, balancing out the cultural tones on offer with their own brand of soulful reggae. Live, the band lock into a solid groove that the audience finds hard to resist. Heads nod and feet tap to the addictive hooks of Mindless, which showcase the vocal duo of drummer Jamie Kyriakides and multi instrumentalist Marcia Richards. Guitarist Joshua Rudge commands the stage with cocky energy, adding grime overtones to the funky likes of Rat-a-tat. With the Bob Marley vibes of Forest For The Trees being a mellow highlight, The Skints are a true UK treasure and continue to bring it live. [8/10]

Tonight’s main event, all the way from Gainesville, Florida are veteran Ska-Punkers Less Than Jake and judging by the sea of early 00’s band tees on display, they are the main attraction. They hit the stage and launch into a riotous Last One Out Of Liberty City. The crowd is already surging back and forth before the two-tone ska of Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts rockets past in less than two minutes. If you’ve ever attended a Less Than Jake show, you will of course be familiar with their particular brand of sophomoric humor, and tonight is no different, vocalists Chris DeMakes and Roger Lima hurling insults at each other much to the audiences delight. With an ever-growing back catalog to draw on, the band plow through oldies and newies alike, the brass section of Buddy Schaub and J.R showcasing their knack for massive hooks on the frantic Scott Farcas Takes It On The Chin and newer number Good Enough.

Its hard deny the infectious atmosphere of a Less Than Jake show and the Steel City crowd are no exception. They embrace every ounce of  the band’s goofball antics, from toilet-roll launching guns to inviting a topless, middle-aged gentleman named ‘John’ onstage for Anthem classic The Ghost Of Me & You. Not ones to disappoint their fans, the band finish up with a manic version of All My Best Friends Are Metalheads, which judging by the audience participation, will lead to some sore throats in the morning. It seems these days, many bands are cashing in revivals and one-off comebacks. Less Than Jake need not worry about such things however, as long as they keep putting on shows as entertaining as tonight’s. [9/10]