The Bravery's takeover falls short

May 3, 2005, midnight | By Jonah Gold | 15 years, 4 months ago

Synthesizers overpower simple lyrics and average singing in self-titled debut

The Killers were the band of the last year; The Strokes were "it" the year before that. They both had a combination of simple guitar rifts, likeable lyrics and beats so catchy that listeners were forced to dance with their entire body. That formula has quickly spread throughout today's rock scene, spawning band after band, each one willing to follow the formula which made the 80s the 80s. Add synthesizers, eye liner, and a good guitar hook…again, again and again and hope for the best. The Bravery is only one of these unfortunate offspring, supposedly the new band from New York City, ready to take the world by storm, accepting the electronic rock role all to well.

While having the look down pat with their mohawks, matted black suits and pasty white skin, The Bravery still lack a real jolt of musicianship to put them ahead of anyone else, not to mention everyone else. The synthesizers are either too loud and obnoxious, the lyrics too plain or the guitar part so muddled that it can scarcely be recognized in the maze of sound that is electronic rock. It seems that while every member of the band is serviceable, no one is a musical genius, leading many songs to seem empty, as if the music itself was lacking the last piece of the puzzle.

The best track on the album is most likely "No Brakes," a song that while lacking direction lyrically, still pounds away, hoping to catch you by the shirt while you are not looking. The guitars play the same notes again and again, but they still draw you in as the singer struggles, but suffices, singing, "No brakes this time/I slit the line/But if you want me, it's cool/You can take me for a fool." While the front man, Sam Endicott, does not inspire, he gets the job done, working with the beat to make a song worth a good foot tapping.

Unfortunately, The Bravery is unable to continue the trend for the rest of the album. Often when The Bravery catches on to something in one component of the song, they lack in the other parts. In the song "Fearless," the band has its peak with a great guitar part, but Endicott is unable to get anywhere with what he is given. On many of the other songs, while the lyrics are acceptable, the rest of the band just mix level after level of synthesizers until the song is one mess of a Duran Duran cover.

It seems that no one in the band is willing to take a leading role and pull The Bravery out of its own mistakes. The synthesizer fulfills its duty and so does the guitar, yet there is nothing to stand out as the bass and drums act as little more than a setup for something more. This all leaves Endicott with a void to fill and a voice that can't.

Thus each song ends up sounding the same. They all lack in some area and yet seem good enough to fit in at the moment. Because if The Bravery are ever going to succeed, it has to be now. Rock has become dominated by bands remixing 80's styles, hoping to create their own niche in an ever more jumbled world of pop and decreased air play for traditional rock and roll bands. But just as the 80s lacked a real diversity in sound, so do today's newcomers in the rock scene. Each track from The Bravery could have been made by The Strokes or Killers, but the lack of any defining song is what will eventually keep The Bravery in the background, while their musical peers will captivate a youth all too willing to hear another rendition of "Mr. Brightside."

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