released Dec 1st
from the album - Slow Poison
Formed during the height of New York City's post-punk revival in 2003, the Bravery took equal influence from dance music and stylish indie rock. Comprising Sam Endicott (vocals/guitar), John Conway (keyboards), Anthony Burulcich (drums), Michael Zakarin (guitar), and Mike H. (bass), the band got its start in early 2003, several years after Vassar College classmates Conway and Endicott (formerly of the Pasties) performed in the collegiate ska outfit Skabba the Hut. After relocating to the Big Apple, the two assembled the Bravery and began performing stylish dance rock. An introductory gig at Brooklyn's Stinger Club gave way to a residency at Arlene's Grocery, and whispers on the street eventually led the Bravery to a recording contract with Island Def Jam in the States. They also signed with Loog in the U.K.
After the Unconditional EP appeared in early 2005, critics quickly pounced on the band, with the Village Voice proclaiming the Bravery as "New York's Official Next Big Thing" while MTV and Rolling Stone deemed them an artist to watch. A co-headlining tour with Ash in spring 2005 coincided the release of the Bravery's self-titled album, which produced two moderately successful singles in "An Honest Mistake" and "Unconditional." After more rounds of touring, the Bravery eventually decamped to the studio with producer Brendan O'Brien (Rage Against the Machine, Neil Young) to work on their next album. Splitting their recording time between Atlanta and N.Y.C., the group's resulting The Sun and the Moon, which explored added textures and new instrumentation, surfaced in May 2007. For 2009's Stir the Blood, the band returned to the new wave-tinged sounds of its debut and worked with producer John Hill. During the time Hill was working with the Bravery, he was also working with Shakira, and offered her a song he and Endicott had written that became her hit single "She Wolf."
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. These songs are pared down to the sharpest hooks and the most earworm-like choruses — all the better to let the fizzing electronics take over, especially on “I Have Seen the Future,” which cruises along on a shuffle beat and laser-tag synths; meanwhile, “The Spectator”’s brooding comes wrapped in a sleek pop coating. When the Bravery switch to rock, as on “Hatef—k” and “Jack-O'-Lantern Man,” Endicott’s yelp gets a little strained. However, Stir the Blood’s slower side allows the band to stretch a little without sounding forced. The single “Slow Poison” evokes Heroes-era Bowie, “She’s So Bendable” reboots the fuzzed-out chug of the Velvet Underground, and “Sugar Pill” closes Stir the Blood with narcotic bliss. Even on its mellower moments, the Bravery sound more excited about making music on this album than they have since their debut, making Stir the Blood a fine return to form.
1 Adored Endicott 3:41
2 Song For Jacob Endicott 3:23
3 Slow Poison Endicott 3:32
4 Hatef--k Endicott 2:55
5 I Am Your Skin Endicott 3:03
6 She's So Bendable Hindert 2:22
7 The Spectator Endicott 3:49
8 I Have Seen the Future Endicott 3:15
9 Red Hands and White Knuckles Endicott 3:20
10 Jack-O'-Lantern Man Endicott 2:51
11 Sugar Pill Endicott 3:27