The Killers have been accused of being all style and no substance, but The Bravery, the latest band to jump on the new New Wave, are even less substantive. The arrangements on the group’s self-titled debut are paired down to a Strokes-level minimalism in comparison to the Killers’ flashy supermodel music—there’s even less meat on these bones, musically, lyrically, and vocally. Lead singer and chief songwriter Sam Endicott’s voice aims for droll but comes off lifeless and disaffected, descending into an annoying whine by the album’s halfway mark. Songs like “No Brakes” and “Tyrant” are strung together with bad clichés and worse metaphors (“I’m stuck just like a pig/Roasting in your eyes…You better teach me how to live/‘Cause you make me want to die”)—it’s the kind of music that’s okay if you don’t listen too closely. Endicott is best when reluctantly asking for forgiveness on “Out Of Line” and the album’s lead single “An Honest Mistake”; these songs, along with “Public Service Announcement” (despite the lyric “You put the art in retarted,” which, let’s face it, is just retarded), are remotely catchy but pale next to The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside.” Brandon Flowers and his Las Vegas strip band might be all glitz, but they’re Jem and the Holograms next to The Bravery’s Misfits. And no, that’s not a compliment.
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