ALBUM REVIEW: Male Bonding – Endless Now

male bonding endless now

Written for DIY

Both Dalston four piece Male Bonding’s rise to fame (well, amongst a certain strata of music fan), and the tempo of the majority of their songs, occurred and occur at speeds that make you worry about the safety of their collective neck. True to form, the follow-up album to debut Nothing Hurts has taken barely a year to reach us, and it’s clear to see in this collection of high-energy garage punk songs how they’ve changed and where they, well, haven’t.

Both the increased fidelity and usage of more melodious guitars and vocals (and hand claps! Everything is better with hand claps) is comparable with the leap between Wavves’ King Of The Beach and their previous albums. As such, the songs have a sun-kissed feel at times, at odds with both the band’s home town and that of their label (otherwise their grunge-tinged sound does make a good fit for Sub Pop, that musical icon based in perpetually-raining-drenched Seattle).

Endless Now, for the most part, sees the group advancing further towards the potential that was palpable on the first album, but it’s still tentative baby steps that they’re taking.

That aforementioned speed that the songs rocket along at do not vary quite so much you might like, making the album a whole lot less dynamic, as songs sort of bleed into each other and pass by without you noticing along with, at times, making you want to reach for the paracetamol bottle.

Aside from sweet, still slightly noisy ballad “The Saddle”, the rest of the 12 tracks sound like a band trying desperately to reach the finish line ASAFP. The Ramones were never afraid of some slowies, guys!

For acts such as Male Bonding, who are working with a well-established genre that has a fairly set musical template that can’t and/or isn’t often varied from, it’s the songwriting that’s really going to make them stand-out. And, admittedly, ‘Endless Now’ does have some irresistibly catchy, poignant parts of instrumentation and lyricism (and it’s easier to pick them out than on the messier debut), but perhaps not enough for it to really register on the “truly great” album scale.



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