Band of the Day

2012.01.13

Male Bonding

London trio shows that simple punk songs can still amaze
I hear about everything you do, it all seems so very new to me. And I know it happens all the time, I hope that one day I won't mind.
lyrics from Tame The Sun

Male Bonding are a punk band from London, UK. The three piece band made up of John Arthur Webb (vocals, guitar), Kevin Hendrick (vocals, bass) and Robin Silas Christian (drums) have been together since 2008, releasing aggressive rock with an exuberant pop soul. The band members had been active in the London d.i.y. scene before forming Male Bonding; Webb and Hendrick ran a small indie label called Paradise Vendors Inc. Male Bonding found quick success after forming, releasing singles on Paradise Vendors. The band released their full-length debut Nothing Hurts on Sub Pop records in May 2010, receiving rave reviews from a variety of publications. They toured the Europe and North America extensively. In the winter of 2010, Male Bonding recorded their follow up in a Woodstock, New York studio with famed producer John Agnello (Thurston Moore, Dinosaur Jr.). Male Bonding released this follow up album, Endless Now in August 2011.

If you were forced to guess what year Male Bonding's sophomore album Endless Now was released after first hearing it, you'd have a tough time. The band's tight punk-pop could have been made anytime in the last 25 years. It's got the relentless kick drum of Black Flag and ferocious pop of Hüsker Dü, not to mention the Replacements, Superchunk, Green Day…the list goes on and on. Male Bonding has taken the root of what made those bands so great: the unflagging energy, the catchy, singable melodies, and recreated it in their own image. Much of Endless Now clocks in at under three minutes, and singer/guitarist John Webb's gleeful vocal melodies are as constant as his distorted guitar power chords. “Tame The Sun” is pure power pop. A simple track that, like most of the album, consists of a quick punk beat that cuts straight to the chase, scorching guitar, and bass. Like all the great pop-infused punk bands, “Tame The Sun” has spectacular vocal hooks that sear their way into your brain. Webb's vaguely dreamy, undulating vocal line and bassist Kevin Hendrick's celestial backing vocals recall shoegazers like Ride and the Boo Radleys. “Seems To Notice Now” is another heartfelt burst of pop ferocity. It seems basic enough at first, it's one of those melodies you can't help but sing along to. In the end, it's tough to place Male Bonding. They have a youthful levity to them, but they aren't snarky and juvenile like so much of pop punk. They're interesting but they aren't overly experimental or pretentious like many current art punks. They just sound like a few smart guys having fun, and writing songs they really care about. And it's tough not to share that sentiment.