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(V) [LP]


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  • L.A. hardcore staples the Bronx arrive at eponymously titled album number five (V) having spent much of the previous decade operating under their Latin alter ego, Mariachi El Bronx. With three of the group's last four releases dedicated to their unlikely passion for mariachi music, they once again tip the scale back to creating blistering heavy rock with a proper Bronx LP. Produced by Rob Schnapf (Beck, FIDLAR, Elliott Smith), V finds the quintet taking a similar approach to 2013's IV, focusing more on punk melodicism than on the raw chaotic thump of early records. Even so, Schnapf manages to capture an overall edgier Bronx than appeared on IV, making for a nice hybrid of energetic grit and latter-day tunefulness. On the more Stooge-ian end of the spectrum are opening tracks "Night Drop at the Glue Factory" and "Stranger Danger," a relentless pair of bashers that press singer Matt Caughthran into the hoarser high end of his shredded range. On the hookier side are a number of well-built standouts like the excellent "Channel Islands," "Past Away," and "Kingsize," all of which boast strong melodies and wicked doses of punk-metal riffing. Fans wishing for a full-on return to the glory of early days may not find their reward, but 15 years into their career, the Bronx have matured into their craftsmanship and can both rock and write harder than most of their younger peers. ~ Timothy Monger
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