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Album review: The Bravery's 'Stir the Blood'

November 30, 2009 |  5:15 pm
Thebravery_240 "You can twist and scream into the air, no one can hear you here," warns the Bravery's singer Sam Endicott on an unprintably titled track about emotionless sex from the band's third album. The chorus hook approximates the feeling one takes from an hour mucking about in "Stir the Blood's" lustless, cynical dance-punk: "There will be no tenderness."

The Bravery joined the mid-aughts New Order pile-on with one truly witty single, "An Honest Mistake"; since then, they've sidled up to mainstream rock radio, as on the KROQ staple "Believe." On "Blood," the group pairs dated revivalist synths (on the unintentionally ironic "I Have Seen the Future") with frat-friendly lechery and an omnipresent gnarled vocal effect that makes Strokes' frontman and newly minted solo artist Julian Casablancas sound like Susan Boyle by comparison.

Except for the endearingly tossed-off, Velvet Underground-inspired closer "Sugar Pill," "Blood" would be passable dance-floor fodder were it not so lyrically creepy. On past albums, the Bravery tried funny, then tried earnestness -- now, it seems, they're at the angry point in their seduction routine where you start to reach for your pepper spray.

Endicott had a hand in penning the excellent title track from Shakira's new album "She Wolf." Perhaps he can preserve some of that creative spark for his own band's next endeavor.

-- August Brown

The Bravery
"Stir the Blood"
One and a half stars (Out of four)