There have been records released this year that have drawn so heavily from a particular era or place that they have simply become a pastiche of the sound associated with it (we’re looking at you Yuck). Endless Now could easily have been one of those records. Male Bonding’s debut was an excellent album that wore it’s influences proudly on it’s sleeve and allowed it to fit perfectly alongside contemporaries like Vivian Girls or Wavves, but Endless Now casts off the fuzz that characterised Nothing Hurts and is a far better record for it. A glorious, clattering adrenaline rush that only relents on ‘The Saddle’ a melancholy acoustic number that uses it’s short running time to perfectly demonstrate that Male Bonding are great songwriters and that the layers of guitars and frenetic drums are not a disguise but an aesthetic choice that enhances the emotional core of the tracks.
The album peaks with the stunning ‘What’s That Scene’, the closest the album comes to an anthem, it simultaneously recalls Blink-182 angst and No Age’s knack for intricate yet shambolic riffs and it’s all drenched in a sea of reverb that only adds to the anthemic quality. Instead of rehashing what made their debut great, male Bonding have expanded and adjusted, crafting an album that is at once delicate and brutal, euphoric and melancholy. A truly brilliant album.
By Ned Powley