"I don;t want romance, and I don;t need a second chance; I just wan' out of this ***ign quicksand, I gotta burn this wasteland down"
The Bronx have killed punk. The Bronx have killed rock, and anything else that now or once mattered. You know why? Because they've beaten the game, they've won the prize and left it on the table. Twice, they've attempted; twice they've succeeded. They're not here for the money, fame or applause. They've skipped the bull*** and gone straight to what matters - making bull*** free rock records.
Again self titled, again self controlled and self made, The Bronx is the record of the year. This time around they've got Island Def Jam to front the bill, on top a shared release with that little label that could, White Drugs. With the release of this record, the boys from LA (who don't let you forget it) have really done it.
Admittedly things on II start a little hairy. Senor Hombre De Tamale starts things off, and on first spin I was almost frightened, cuz it sounds like some wanky Mars Volta joint with the sparse plucks and spanish background, but not to worry. Next track Small Stone is the most blatant, in your face hardcore song The Bronx have ever released, and is basically throwaway, but with it's ear-shock value it can stay. Take a seat.
i hope you're sitting. Take a breath, do some stretches; what ever you need to get ready, cuz itzabout to get rock. BOOM! ***ty Future sees the Bronx pulverize with a full on Queens' stomp. Arse shaking punk at it's gravelly finest, on par with any sub 3 minute ditty that the aforementioned have done. "Hee comes your ***ty future, one more time your ***ty future" words yelled with such conviction I almost believed I was homeless. First single off the album "History's Stranglers" sees the Bronx of 2003 come out to play. with Jesus Lizard bass and Dave Grohl drums, *** is heavy. Listen through phones and keep an ear out for the Stooge-music solo at the end. "You mutha***a I want your blood!" - punk rock? Oh yes.
"Oceans of Class" sees a GnR worthy intro leading the way for classic rock noodling and yelled confessions. You really can't fake this *** peopleWith this music you're either real or delusional. Now we've had the ***ing, lets get steady with the tender, drunk lovemaking. "Dirty Leaves" is, in my eyes, unarguably the best song these sons of bitches have ever written. As with other songs the lyrics are not ambiguous, wordy or astoudning, but what they are is brutally honest and clever; clever in that hamfisted, booze-poet sorta way. This is the ballad that all good bands must posess. The voice of an apologetic, yet unremorseful (bitch you knew the deal) 20-something oozes over tricky bent guitar and ape rythms. The sincerity and near-torture of the bridge has to be one of the high points in this, *** it - any bands career. You try bleeding gallons upon gallons of ***ty thoughts onto tape and then try and finish a record. This song alone should warrant a goddamn grammy.
The Bronx get back to business in typical fireband fashion with Transsexual Blackout (the movement). They shred and pound, yell and gut with sweaty ease. "Mouth Money" sees Matt Caughthran lose his mind while scathing over Hot Snakes guitars. The urgency and rage of this joint is nothing short of brilliant. What I love about this song is that it has a breakdown. i mean, come on, who has breakdowns? Better yet, who can make one sound new, and *shock* GOOD? 'nuff said.
"Rape Zombie" see's the fuzz and sweat burn through the linens. Heavy handed scuzz strings make way for brutal commands from Caughthran, and the tubs get a good thump. The songs reads like a guide to drunken party-disaster. Blow your brains out, clean your clothes and go to school. "Around the Horn" is all barracuda swagger, and proto-punk by way of Brainiac soul. The catchiest (yet most monotonous) chorus of the album pops it's head up, and with the call and response of the final leg, it's all class.
The last tripod of songs on II are also the most interesting for me. "Three Dead Sisters" is a sinister, pulsing beast consisting of yet another breakdown (jesus!) done well. This is where everything's laid bare, skin torn off and the wound is open for all to prod. Part prayer, part damning, all anger. These boys are pissed off and God's taking the brunt, seriously do "Dear God, I can't wait to finally meet you; you selfish cunt, you've got some explaining to do" sounds like the words of posers? This music born off gravel, tar and booze. "Safe Passage" is a bluesy, dark little number. Reminiscent of the Gun Club at their most brutal, or The Cramps at their most straight forward.
"White Guilt" is the true oddity of the album. Part Creedence, part X - it's a real stonker. I think the Bronx hate LA, but they love hating it, they eat breath and sleep LA - even though it's killing 'em, they couldn't surivive with out it. Yeah this song is about the girl everyone knows who's just done "one too many lines, far too many times" it rings out as being almost redemptive for the Bronx. It's the happiest and poppiest number, but also the thickest and most real cut on the record.
By no means is this album a prophetic, ahead of it's time piece of music. It's guitars, drums bass and voice, nothing more. It (proudly) wears it's influences on it's sleeve, and doesn't pretend to lie about it. But what this album is, is real. It's real and, in these our days of bull*** and rock by numbers, it's fresh. This is the Stooges, this is Black Flag, this is Guns' n mutha***in' Roses;but it's for us, and it's for now.