The Bravery - The Bravery

Sam Wetherell 13/06/2005

Rating: 3/5

Two weeks ago it was the Kaiser Chiefs, and two weeks before that it was Bloc Party. Such is the pace of The Bravery's dizzy ascent to the Indie Politburo, that I'm scared that by the time I finish this review, they'll have vanished again. Back to the Indie undergrowth in time for tea with Menswear.

But for now these young boys from New York are riding the crest of a glittering Tsunami of hype, and somewhere, beneath the appearances on CD:UK and their front page splash on this week's NME, there lies the music, twelve tracks by which to justify their extraordinary explosion onto the mainstream.

The first thing that becomes apparent when listening to their self titled debut, is that, unlike the Kaiser Chiefs, The Killers, and Razorlight before them who fetishize the nineties, The Bravery draw their influences almost exclusively from the eighties. The album is peppered with ditsy synth riffs and tinny drumming, Sam Endicott sings in that emotional and often atonal wobble, that is so emblematic of the eighties, from Dexy's Midnight Runners to the Human League.

At first listen the tracks kind of wash over you. But beware, while it may not seem like it at the time they have firmly latched themselves onto your subconscious, and two hours later, when you are brushing your teeth or listening to The Doors with a very serious face because an uncle you respect told you that you should, a voice in your head will be yelling “don't look at me that waaaaaaaaay, it was an hoonnnneeesstt miiisstaaaaakkkkkke!”

And “An Honest Mistake” is by far the highlight of the album. A worldwind of bleeps and hummingbird drumming, it's the sound of Aphex Twin forming an Indie band and playing at his local. “Tyrant Mouth” and “Unconditional” are likewise rather brilliant, and more infectious than Asian bird flu laced with Sudan 1.

There is however, something important lacking here. Perhaps it's the production which leaves the songs sounding distant and little samey, or maybe its Edicott's piercing voice, which after about half an hour will have you reaching for the Nirvana box set. If you don't pay enough attention it sounds like twelve remixes of the same song

Its also rather lacking in the lyrics department. If ten thousand monkeys with typewriters will recreate the complete works of Shakespeare after enough time has passed, then it would take one monkey five minutes to recreate the lyrics of “Fearless”, for they are so breathtakingly terrible, they make the latest Stereophonics album look like Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks. When Edicott sings the line “Too many fingers, too many thumbs, Something wicked this way comes” its hard to believe he has a straight face, I'm sure no one else does. Even McFly (a friend told me…) can write songs that at least have some shred of meaning.

In summary then, if you are after a bunch of songs that sound like “An Honest Mistake”, then your pocket money couldn't be better spent. And in truth, the textured synths sound impressive, and there are moments of genuine passion. However, this is a bit of a disappointment, and if it's diversity and depth you seek, then the Indie market is bloated with 1001 bands better at what they do.