Release Date: Dec 1, 2009
Record label: Island
Genre(s): Rock, Alternative
Once, the Bravery were the answer to that burning question: Can jocks be goth? With their pummeling synth-rock, they sounded like the kind of guys who’d steal the Cure’s lunch money. No more: Their third album, Stir the Blood, was written after singer Sam Endicott’s girlfriend attempted suicide, and he has never been more vulnerable. He wanders around post-Katrina New Orleans, grieves for drug addicts, even drifts into some ? lullabies.
The Bravery tried to expand their new wave-inspired dance-rock on The Sun and the Moon with decidedly mixed results: for every experiment that broadened their music, another left them sounding completely out of their element. With Stir the Blood, they return to the style they know best -- in fact, they may be even more emphatically shiny and electronic here than they were on their debut. Bravery frontman Sam Endicott co-produced the album with John Hill (who has also worked with Shakira and Santigold), and they coat Stir the Blood in a sheen that suits the band's more pop-oriented writing.
If there’s one thing you wouldn’t have banked on at the start of 2005, it’s the Bravery falling by the wayside less than four years later—in the UK at least. Back then, Sam Endicott and company were going head to head with the Killers, both in the charts (The Killers had crashed into the UK singles chart with their biggest hit to date, the re-issued “Somebody Told Me”, shortly before the Bravery scored a respectable number 7 with “An Honest Mistake”) and in the music press (Brandon Flowers and Endicott exchanged spats in a number of interviews). While the Killers have gone on to become huge stars in multiple countries, changing the sound as well as their image with each album, the Bravery, despite an attempt at going for a rootsier sound on their sophomore effort, 2007’s The Sun and the Moon, appear to have moved on little from the synth-pop sounds they traded in back in 2005.
Nobody remembers Louis XIV, right? So the Bravery are just about the last quasi-big rock band anyone might expect to come within downtown sneering distance of a noteworthy hit by a bona fide pop starlet. But here we are: Sam Endicott, frontman for these oft-abused New York electro-rockers, co-wrote Shakira's Italo-crazed "She Wolf". He didn't, however, write the lyrics.