Album review: Male Bonding – ‘Endless Now’
Originally published: Clash Magazine
When Male Bonding released their debut LP ‘Nothing Hurts’ last year, we all breathed a collective sigh of relief. Marred by a constant succession of disingenuous, stadium-sized tripe, British guitar music was getting a bad press and it needed someone to save it from drowning in a sea of mediocrity. Then Dalston trio Male Bonding came along and pulled it from the wreckage.
Hurtling along at a supersonic speed, reeling off hook after infectious hook, Male Bonding’s hyperactive punk ditties immortalised the sound of youthful irreverence. But they appear to have calmed down a bit for this latest record, choosing to focus their energy instead on the art of songwriting itself. As slapdash torrents give way to sinuous melodies and dextrous song structures suggest a newfound sense of confidence, there’s more time brood and less inclination to mosh. ‘The Saddle’ is a brave attempt at pared down, acoustic simplicity and the band have even brought in the Rick Wakeman favoured mellotron, touching on prog in the process.
Lyrics are more pronounced (take opener ‘Tame the Sun’ for instance); John’s vocals are no longer obscured by those requisite gusts of noise and guitar riffs are given a real airing. ‘Seems To Notice’ and ‘Channelling Your Fears’ shimmer with an almost pop-punk sheen and a bigger sound which calls for an even bigger audience. Recorded at Dreamland Studios in Woodstock and produced by John Agnello of Dinosaur Jr and Thurston Moore fame, fans looking for a haphazard exercise in ramshackle DIY should re-visit the band’s earlier effort, but will nonetheless be greatly rewarded by this deftly crafted slacker-rock opus.
Male Bonding – ‘Tame The Sun’