Stir the Blood
By Chris Homer
The Bravery’s third album, Stir The Blood, is packed with the sort of noisy synth-pop you’d
expect from the
band. Despite not departing dramatically from the sound showcased on their 2005
self-titled debut and 2007’s The Sun and
the Moon, The Bravery still put together an entertaining LP that runs the
range between electro-pop, dance, industrial and punk.
Right away, Stir The
Blood smacks you with dark key melodies blasting quickly over fuzzed-out
guitars on the opening track, “Adored.” The industrial key sounds give way to a
surprisingly sunny, high-energy chorus, showing The Bravery’s smart balance
between dense, dark sounds and danceable pop that fills the album.
“Song for Jacob” follows “Adored” and shows more of the
band’s pop sensibility. Here, fluttering new wave key playing fits perfectly
into the pounding bass line of the chorus to build impact. Like “Song For
Jacob,” “I Am Your Skin” and “The Spectator” are also built around airy,
dance-inducing pop beats.
While “Slow Poison,” may lack the huge pop hooks of other
songs on Stir The Blood, it
nonetheless becomes one of the LP’s strongest points. The distortion of Sam
Endicott’s vocals mixed with the shrill key melodies hiding deep in the mix
creates a very textured song that’s fascinating to listen to. Likewise, “I Have
Seen the Future” is a richly constructed track that plays off the dichotomy of
dingy electro-programming and a triumphant, poppy chorus.
The Bravery shines the most on the Stir the Blood songs grounded firmly in dance-punk. “Hatefuck,”
despite its eye-rolling title, is the album’s best effort thanks to frantic
drumming from Anthony Burulcich, punk rock guitar riffing and a driving key
part. It could very well be the band’s best song since their 2005 breakout
single “Honest Mistake.” “Jack-O’Lantern Man” shares this fast paced synth rock
sound well. Stir The Blood would
definitely benefit from more tracks that sound like these two.
Stir The Blood may
not mark a new creative height for The Bravery, but it is still a strong
effort. The band has very few misses on the album, with the exception of the
drawn-out ballad “Sugar Pill” that closes the LP. Fans of either of The
Bravery’s two previous albums will not be let down by this one.