The Bravery has weathered detractors since its 2005 debut, but the constant Killers comparisons weren’t fair: The band deserved at least some recognition for its light, synth-happy take on the new-wave revival. “Fearless” and “The Ring Song,” from The Bravery’s self-titled debut, could be appreciated as inoffensive, competent dance-rock, though the band sucked the fun out of the sound for 2007’s sparse, occasionally glum The Sun And The Moon. An attempt to rebound from that flop, Stir The Blood tries to straddle both territories and finds success in neither. It’s clear that frontman Sam Endicott can write a good dance song; he even co-wrote the title track from Shakira’s She Wolf earlier this year. But his band eschews unobjectionable dance songs, with lifeless, dispassionate results: “Adored” is dispirited and plodding, while “She’s So Bendable” talks hot-and-heavy with a remarkable lack of enthusiasm. The album’s few worthwhile songs—including the catchy chorus of “Slow Poison” and synth-fueled “Red Hands And White Knuckles”—are lost among hollow, robotically detached peers, none more unnecessarily mechanical and cold than “Hatefuck.” Peppered with aimless, pointless prog-rock, Stir The Blood wants to be fun and affecting, and the band’s failures in the latter regard destroy its ability to manage the former.
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