The Bravery, Astoria, London

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The Independent Culture

Boldly proclaimed as BBC News Online's One To Watch for 2005, New York's The Bravery have little to fear from albatrosses forming around their necks.

Boldly proclaimed as BBC News Online's One To Watch for 2005, New York's The Bravery have little to fear from albatrosses forming around their necks. With previous winners Keane and 50 Cent now solid unit-shifters, The Bravery are likely to ride the glitter-strewn fast lane to rock'n'roll success. This week they rubbed shoulders with other maybes for the NME Awards Show season.

Somewhat unabashed fame-cravers, The Bravery eschew the reluctant-star antics of other Big Apple bands. It ain't just talk either. Received wisdom has it that the band has liberated the club-only burble-and-squeak of Electro-Clash into something that can be fitted into a tight pair of jeans and a snug leather jacket. It's said to be the proverbial potent mix.

True, the current single, "An Honest Mistake" promises as much, beginning as it does like a fugitive from Giorgio Moroder's House of Sequencers. Live, however, The Bravery have staked their claim to a more traditional route of aspiring rockers. Buffeted by guitarist Michael Zakarin's arching leads, they are a band in search of a stadium.

Somewhat prone to Johnny Thunders mugging and the odd Van Halen dweedling solo, it is Zakarin that is the central player. Sam Endicott, the unfeasibly lofty singer, lets the band begin without him before sauntering centre-stage. On closer inspection, Endicott's songs tell of inner conflict that belies his intention to negotiate landing permission on Planet Shag. The travails of "Unconditional" tell how "I've spent my whole life surrounded / and I've spent my whole life alone".

Endicott has this rock-star lark down pat already. Endless legs spread apart in time-honoured fashion. The microphone is clutched as though the pin has fallen out of a hand grenade. The Endicott strut nets the desired effect. With one promotionally deleted EP under their belts, much of the set remains unfamiliar. Nonetheless, it is greeted with head-shaking zeal by those in the crushed areas of the venue, thanks to Endicott and the boys' willingness to play the new gang in town.

Though they end with the fan-fave "Fearless", The Bravery aren't courageous enough to be truly innovative. The comparisons with Duran Duran are probably warranted, though more in the evident sky-high ambition of the outfit than any comparison of style.

But just as Duran Duran were a distillation of the less-adventurous aspects of electro-pop, so The Bravery are an orange-cordial version of the fizzier and more volatile New York fare. Still, a rich and debauched destiny waits.

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