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The Bravery

Retro Pop

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By Michael Norman  
artist

Suddenly, it's the '80s all over again. All the young dudes with funky Flock-of-Seagulls hair are making rock 'n' roll dance music with the aid of synthesizers again, conjuring up both good and bad memories of bands ranging from the Cure to Duran Duran. The pop charts are getting crowded with New-Wave revivalists: The Strokes. The Killers. Kasabian. Even old hands like Huey Lewis, Joan Jett, Duran Duran and Billy Idol are getting back into the action. Could a Boy George comeback soon be in the offing, as well?

The latest entry in the New New Wave is The Bravery, a quintet hailing from the Lower East Side of New York that is perhaps the most '80s band of them all. The Bravery comes complete with a wonderfully whiny, hiccupping lead singer (Sam Endicott), an obsessive-compulsive keyboard nerd (John Conway) and a suitably eye-lined and talented backing band (guitarist Michael Zakarin, bassist Mike H, and drummer Anthony Burulcich.)

This could be a bad thing, of course, and The Bravery does come dangerously close to parody on its self-titled debut. But "coming close to parody" is sometimes a good thing, and when The Bravey is clicking on all of its synthesized cylinders -- as it does on tracks such as "Give In," "No Brakes," "Out of Line" and "Public Service Announcement" -- it is a certified synth-rocking dance machine. We may not remember them in five years, but who cares? For now, they are very fun, indeed. They even manage to rock out with their guitars for one glorious blast of a song, a punk-meets-post-modern rave up called "Swollen Summer." As that great '80s philosopher Jeff Spicoli once said, "Hey bud! Let's party!"

Michael Norman is Entertainment Editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.