[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 7 January, 2005, 07:49 GMT
Sound of 2005: The Bravery
By Ian Youngs
BBC News entertainment reporter

New York electro-rock band The Bravery have come top of the BBC News website's poll of music critics, DJs and schedulers to find the next big things - following past winners Keane and 50 Cent.

The Bravery
It is not hard to see why The Bravery have hit all the right buttons for a music industry crying out for excitement, edginess and talent.

Before the music starts, the eyeliner gives away the fact this quintet are pitched between glam and goth, and the swagger is of a band who know how good they are.

The haircuts seem to be borrowed from The Smiths circa 1984, while the leather jackets indicate their association with the recent Manhattan rock scene of The Strokes.

Their look gives a pretty accurate impression of the sounds that make up The Bravery's music.

Singer Sam Endicott has a dark-edged voice full of glory and despair that is offset by the pulsating, uplifting keyboards of best friend John Conway.

Anyone that says they don't want a zillion screaming fans is a jackass
Sam Endicott
The Bravery
New wave guitars are sandwiched in between and together, the ingredients make up infectious and energising songs like debut release Unconditional and forthcoming single Honest Mistake.

The whole package made them the subject of a fierce record company bidding war in the summer, two years after Endicott set his sights on rock 'n' roll stardom.

"Anyone that says they don't want a zillion screaming fans is a jackass, a liar," he says.

"What is more fun than that? Nothing.

The Bravery
The Bravery are led by singer Sam Endicott (front)
"We're just starting to play places where we get a taste of that."

It all started on a beach on Italy's stunning Amalfi Coast, when Endicott - like many others his age - was wondering what the hell he would with his life.

He was a jobbing bass player with different New York bands, all of which were going nowhere, while his city and country were waiting for another disaster.

Endicott had become fed up with the sense of uncertainty and apathy among a generation that seemed to be drifting along with little direction, as well as America's national sense of fear.

On that beach, he looked around, thought "the world isn't such a bad place" and told himself: "Are you going to do anything with your life or just be a bum?"

It was at that moment that he decided to bury his self-doubt and try his luck with his own band. "It's about forcing myself not to give into myself," he says.

Which is where the name The Bravery comes in.

"That's what this band is about - standing tall and not being afraid."

'Complete loner'

Endicott had never been a frontman or written songs before, but decided to have blind faith in his own abilities and took a gamble that he would be proved right.

His youth was spent as a "complete loner".

"I was never part of any scene," he says of his school days.

"I was definitely not part of the popular kids and I wasn't any good at sports. Even the rejects had a scene and I wasn't part of that either."

That made him feel he did not have to conform to any trends, he says, but also made him very distrustful of others.

"I don't even trust myself, but I mistrust myself less than I mistrust other people."

'Classic songwriting'

Which may explain why The Bravery do everything themselves - from recording the album in an apartment to making their own videos and artwork.

He says their main influences come from post-hardcore US 1990s bands like Fugazi and Jawbox, "classic songwriting" like The Beatles and The Clash, plus New York's "electroclash" movement.

Despite comparisons to UK bands ranging from The Smiths to Duran Duran, he insists there is very little early 1980s British influence - even in the haircuts.

"I have to say that I know nothing about The Smiths. I know one song, the one that has the cat noise - that's the only single I know."

Pop problems

Now, Endicott has his sights on saving popular music, saying 99% of stuff on the radio or MTV is "like listening to an air conditioner".

Most good bands are only concerned with impressing their own clique, he says.

"They're so caught up in impressing the guys down the street, in their own scene.

"And then you wonder why popular music's so bad. If you've got a good band, get out there and let's hear it."

The Bravery plan to get out there as much as they can, recently playing their biggest gig yet, to 6,000 people with fellow New Yorkers Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

He says he was "kinda nervous" before going on stage - but when they started playing, heard a crowd roar for him for the first time.

"I'd like some more of that," he says.

  • The Sound of 2005 survey was compiled from the tips of more than 100 impartial music critics and broadcasters, who were asked to give the names of three artists they thought would be successful in 2005. The artists with the most tips were then ranked in order to compile the Sound of 2005 list.

    The Bravery: Honest Mistake


    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


    News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
    UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
    Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
    Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific