Editors' pick

Male Bonding

Indie
'

Editorial Review

MALE BONDING
Album review: "Endless Now"

The songs on Male Bonding's first album, "Nothing Hurts," were tightly wound things - noisy pop-punk tunes that powered ahead with churning guitars, steady drum bashes and fuzzy vocal melodies. Short, fast and loaded with hooks.

Even when things got a little slower and more subdued, the popiness wasn't all that hard to find.

On the band's second outing, "Endless Now," the coil is loosened but only a tad.

At nearly 61 / 2 minutes, "Bones" is Tolstoyesque in length by Male Bonding standards. But it's only a slight tweak on the band's sound, with vocal harmonies taking a more prominent position over the clamoring guitars in the second half.

"What's That Scene" begins as a punchy up-tempo number that abruptly shifts to sludgy power chord rock. Not a good move, that last half.

The most noticeable change from the band's first album is the cleaner production. Those hooks are plucked out of the fuzz, and the guitars don't have as much feedback. The songs are the better for it.

Mostly though, "Endless Now" replicates the puckish catchiness of the first album. That's not to say it's a retread so much as a natural continuation of a good thing.

--Brandon Weigel, Sept. 9, 2011