The Bravery – Self/Titled (CD)

The Bravery’s self-titled album starts out with their first single, “An Honest Mistake”. A sibling to “This Fire” by Franz Ferdinand, The Bravery moves completely into the retro-synthpop espoused by bands like The Aeffect. The synth solo that is allowed to churn up emotion bridging the two halves of “An Honest Mistake” just is a logical extension of The Darkness and “Always”-era Blink 182. Moving into “No Breaks”, with its early-eighties Cure-esque bassline along with pseudo-oriental arrangements, The Bravery make for a damn good Cure clone. The nintendocore-synths of “Fearless” continue the hipster dance party, while some hair-metal guitar riffs break up the track into easily-dissectible chunks. “Tyrant” moves more solidly into the Depeche Mode / U2 camp, made all the more visible by the Bono-like crooning of Sam during the track. However, some “words of wisdom” for The Bravery during “Tyrant” would be to chop the length of this track, which really begins to suffer from repetition at the third and fourth minute marks.

The Bravery swing back to their more synth-rock roots with the sizzling guitar line that opens up “Swollen Summer”, allowing the synth to assume much of the duties in what has to be one of the most innovative moves this year. Moving back into disco for “Public Service Announcement”, the sunny rays of the guitar during the track play off the ropy bass line to a t. “PSA” has all the elements necessary to be the next single, in my honest opinion – the clapping that ends the track just drives the song even higher into the stratosphere, a sort of Electric Six on steroids. This disc is twinkling throughout with synth lines, infectious grooves, and while this is one of the most electronic albums of they year, it will cause the most primordial reaction in anyone that listens to it.

The disc maintains its relevancy even in the latest tracks, and while it might be a stretch to call The Bravery’s music innovative, it is some of the best-done music of this early year. This album is perfect for zoning out, throwing it on during a long trip, or even working out. It is a little startling that The Bravery can do a better U2 than the real band does in their “twilight years”, though. The Bravery has done everything that they could with this album, so I have to be honest and say that I don’t honestly know where they could go in the future. Here’s to hoping the next time we hear from them, it is some of the same impressive music.

Top Tracks: An Honest Mistake, Tyrant

Rating: 7.3/10

The Bravery – Self/Titled / 2005 Island Records / 11 Tracks / http://www.thebravery.com / http://www.islandrecords.com / Reviewed 07 April 2005

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