Thursday, 4 October 2012

Music: Keep or Cull No.17: The Bravery - The Bravery (2005)

In 2005 it seemed that the UK indie scene was running on all cylinders. Most Fridays I’d go to Leeds’ finest retro-geek-indie nightclub Fab Cafe, drink a few beers and dance like a tit. During this period, it was pretty much a guarantee that if you were the lead singer in a popular indie band, you had to have a stupid haircut. In the same way that wrestlers have a gimmick - something that makes their character stand out as larger-than-life - indie bands have their gimmicks: Franz Ferdinand were the pretentious art-school pricks; Futureheads were really really Jordie; and the Libertines liked the smack. I could never quite weigh up what the Bravery’s gimmick was: they dressed in black, and a couple of them had vaguely silly haircuts, but nore more silly than your average ‘cool guy’ in the office. I suppose this lack of cohesion and imagination in their image could be a metaphor for their debut album.

I first heard the Bravery while enjoying a night out at the aforementioned Fab Cafe in Leeds. ‘An Honest Mistake’ came on and I immediately mistook the intro for the opening phrases of Duran Duran’s ‘Planet Earth’, assuming that some young whipper-snapper who’d spent more time in Tony and Guy and on MySpace than honing their musical craft had needlessly covered one of Duran Duran’s finest tracks. I was wrong, but there is certainly a hint of Le Bon’s classic in there. Over the following months, I kept hearing the song everywhere, and it grew on me. It was a bit of a weird phase: I’d hear the song and then ask a friend or DJ what it was only to be given the same response over and over again. Perhaps it was the alcohol, or maybe it was the lameness of the band’s name (I hate bands named after abstract concepts), but I would keep forgetting their name. Today, Shazam would have alleviated the need to ask a DJ or converse with friends. Eventually I bought the album, and I have to say I was quite disappointed.

The Bravery’s eponymous debut is a classic bad album, and would easily rank alongside Jesus Jones’ Doubt as an album of shite held together by a couple of floor-fillers. ...

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