The Bravery is another in a long line of new bands that owes their sound to the ‘80s and this New York band revels in it, wearing their influences on their collective sleeve. The first track off of their debut album, “An Honest Mistake,” starts out with a bass drum kick and keyboard playing lifted straight from New Order’s “Blue Monday” and a vocal that at times sounds like Ian Curtis when lead singer Sam Endicott reaches for the low notes.
The rest of the album continues taking from the decade. The music has shades of Duran Duran and Depeche Mode to name just a few, and Endicott has a good vocal range conveying the songs’ emotions in a style that has aspects of Robert Smith and very early Bono. All the songs are danceable pop tunes with upbeat, catchy hooks that are performed with infectious enthusiasm. The lyrics are simple and straightforward as they explore the trials and tribulations of young love. Sometimes the heartbreaker, sometimes the heartbroken.
Detractors are giving the band a hard time for not being original, but they sound good at what they do, so who cares? I’ll take a good unoriginal band over a bad original one any day. Plus, who exactly is original in music? Everyone takes from others. Some are talented enough to disguise it better, some combine elements in unique and interesting ways, and others pick obscure artists to steal from. I’d like to see The Bravery follow in the footsteps of another band that was derided for taking from others. When music critics complained about Bauhaus copying David Bowie and T. Rex, the band flipped a metaphorical middle finger by covering songs by those artists, “Ziggy Stardust” and “Telegram Sam” respectively.
If you like ‘80s music, you will definitely enjoy this album. If you are more of a music snob and can’t lower your criteria to have a good time, then you should probably take a pass and schedule an appointment with a proctologist. Sure, the songs on the album do sound very similar to one another, blending from one track to another but it’s only 38 minutes. My only complaint with the album is that “The Ring Song” sounds too much like The Strokes, especially Endicott’s low notes and the effects. It is more than an influence, but an outright recreation of their sound.
The Bravery isn’t going to change the face of music, nor does it sound like they intended to. They are creating music that is fun to listen to at parties, which is more than I can say for their critics. Will the band be around in five years? Who knows? I doubt it, but this is now and I like what I’m hearing. Grab your dancing shoes and give it a spin.
The disc is enhanced with videos for “Unconditional,” a performance video, and “An Honest Mistake,” which combines their performance with a Rube Goldberg domino layout that is interesting to see even if you don’t like the music.