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9 out of 10
Since there is an argument to be made for The Bronx gradually mellowing out over the course of their three self-titled albums (to date that is - I reckon they'll reach seven before finally getting tired of the joke), there will be those waiting patiently for a replacement to sail into view from across the Atlantic. Hopefully, people will realise how far the UK scene has come on recently, and consider the home-grown alternative that these Essex boys have provided.
As with any British punk band, we should get the Gallows comparison over with quickly. Yes, there is the same fuck you vibe, but with a more shrieking vocal delivery and some unexpected harmonica appearing in 'Teenage Tourettes Camp' at the 1:30 mark, it shows an individual character and a leaning towards the more rock 'n' roll end of the musical spectrum. A, shall we say, quirky ending, and it's over with in the blink of an eye, before the repeating count-in and drum fill opening of 'Love The Music, Hate The Kids', which is probably more cheeky than anything. As for the title, it's a nice sentiment, but maybe a bit much from a band that gigs in matching white outfits? 'Must Try Harder' is even more danceable than the preceding two tracks, in addition to being even shorter. It pulls up abruptly at the 1:45 mark, when they could have easily tacked on another verse or two without anyone tiring of the tune.
'SOS' pulls everything back to a more sedate place, the basic but insistent rhythm no doubt proving to be an infectious hand clapper (or more likely fist puncher) when played live, augmented by the continuing lyrical self-loathing ("We're just as bored as you", "We are not your friends, we are your enemies").
The chorus guitar line in 'Please Drink Responsibly' is undoubtedly very Bronx-like, prompting me to dig out the 1st self-titled effort to check it wasn't a straight up cover. It's still catchy, but compared to the rest of the CD is unfortunately lacking anything to raise it from good to awesome.
The title of 'Hell Yeah' should have really given me a clue, but I wasn't expecting the rockabilly turn that it took, and the band once again rev back up to warp speed, which contrasts nicely the final menacing crawl of 'City Ghosts'. Think of it as the final howl at the sky of a Friday night reveller, before passing out exhausted in the gutter.
Unfortunately, it's all over far too quickly - the CD is less than twenty minutes, but thankfully you have no problem spending another twenty giving it another spin straight after. And they're a busy bunch, so I doubt we'll have too long to wait before they can record a full album's worth of tunes.
1. Teenage Tourettes Camp
2. Love The Music, Hate The Kids
3. Must Try Harder
5. Please Drink Responsibly
6. Hell Yeah
7. City Ghosts