Crowned the best new band of 2005 by a BBC poll and by Brit music mag NME and feted by Rolling Stone and MTV, the Bravery have succeeded in snagging an instant following. The band signed to Island in September, but judging by their first L.A. showcase, it will be clever marketing (already in place in England) that will bring commercial success. Their sound is rather uninspired.
Too many of the songs start off promisingly — a flurry of pulsating synth, distinct, choppy rhythm guitar — only to see any potential momentum swiftly deflated by Sam Endicott’s flat New Wave baritone and over-the-top posturing. He utterly lacks charisma but acts exactly the opposite, preening like a young Morrissey with swoons and lunges so studied they were likely honed over years spent dancing in front of a bedroom mirror.
Clear standout of the evening was the encore, a cover of INXS’ 1983 song “Don’t Change,” which is notable for its superior songwriting, and marked the first display of genuine fire from Endicott. Otherwise, swells of emotion, earnest youthful yearning and hints of maturity beyond their years — qualities that distinguish the copied from the copies — were nowhere to be found. Pop has eaten itself, again.
Fans, however, are buying into the hype. A line of desperate youth hoping to get inside the already packed club went around the block. Inside, the aud was split between the curious, whose interest had been piqued, and a throng of devoted fans, who already knew every word to each song even though the band has only released a three-song EP in the U.K.
The Bravery is a safe version of the current crop of early ’80s revivalists. There’s no grit here, no loftier artistic ambition bringing something new to the trend. The band would benefit from more time to hone its sound, giving it a chance to develop more originality, edging away from being wholly generic.
The Bravery play Brooklyn’s Northsix on Jan. 29.