[sic] Magazine

Male Bonding – Endless Now

Male Bonding ‘s sophomore long-playing release is titled in such a way as to evoke strong feelings of living for the moment. If the band isn’t then overly concerned with the future, there is evidence nevertheless for their collective evolution. For Endless Now , though not far from the mile-a-minute slacker punk of the London outfit’s thrilling debut, is substantially different.

Cleaner in terms of both production and execution, it also doesn’t have the acoustic-grunge-garage-shriekback variety of its predecessor and it comes with a more identifiable air of commercial presentability. All the same, Endless Now is no chart-bound write-off. True, there are no obvious standouts along the lines of the pogoing “Pumpkin” or the tumbling jangle “Franklin”, but what the album lacks in rough ‘n’ ready cuts it makes up with pop-ready hooks.

Thus, energetic punk tempos bounce around the breathless running order. John Webb and Kevin Hendrick ‘s shared vocals are intelligible now too. The thing is though, 2011’s Male Bonding are more than likely going to have to win a whole new audience as a result.

The strength of the beefy guitar and drum work on the single “Bones”, as well as on the lively opener “Tame The Sun”, should win those fans easily. Yet, more anonymous outtakes such as “Seems To Notice Now” and the forgettable “Channelling Your Fears” may prove stumbling blocks if given too great an exposure.

All credit to Male Bonding for branching out. The common-or-garden fuzz of Nothing Hurts would now sound laboured if reanimated afresh. Understandably, the band are therefore still finding their feet and exploring their options. It seems though that overall Endless Now is so stuck in mid-to-late 90s power-punk that we can’t help but hope influence is drawn from further afield on any next outing.

Advised downloads: “Bones” and “Tame The Sun”.

~Endless Now is out now on Sub Pop .~

[sic] review: Nothing Hurts

Male Bonding @ myspace