The Bronx – II

Originally Released 4th July 2006. Review originally published April 1st, 2007.

These days you’re more likely to find the slogan “Punk’s not dead” emblazoned across a t-shirt being worn by a Camden fifty something, a balding web design guy who’ll proudly tell anyone that his current state of folical disadvantage is due to the peroxide and wood glue he used to build towering mohicans in the days before MP4, ASBO’s and irritable bowel syndrome.

Who knows when punk was appropriated by the moneymen? How has it come to pass that the spirit of rebellion was so profligately dissipated and that bondage trousers are now accepted corporate wear on casual Fridays? The current owners of punk™ look like poachers turned gamekeepers – morons playing the idiotic three chord “lite” strain (The Offspring) po-faced, formula hardcore-by-numbers evangelists (Bad Religion) or a hectoring combination of both (Green Day). If punk had a purpose, an epicentre, it’s been floated on the stock market now, a big brand with valuable intellectual property values and merchandising rights up the ying yang.

Thank your lucky stars then that LA’s The Bronx are back with a second album of post-post modern …punk rock. Eponymous (As, confusingly, was their first album) as if it needs no explanation, there’s no radical move away from the grimy, visceral atmosphere of their debut, but that’s no problem. The songs are slightly less incendiary, but rest assured all of the ingredients that made their first record such a wide eyed drag race through shit kicked streets are there in spades – anger, fear, frustration, desolation – and Matt Caughthran’s shredded, capillary bursting vocals, especially when he strangles out “You selfish c***, you’ve got some explaining to do” on “Three Little Sisters” are guaranteed to have you reaching for the Kevlar body armour. True, closer White Guilt veers dangerously close to seventies MOR, but “History’s Stranglers” feels like a vigilante’s insides and “Shitty Future” is likely to cause structural damage. Punk’s not dead. Long live punk.