THE BRAVERY The Bravery (Island)

This New York quintet almost fracture the pop atom on their first attempt. The opening track of their debut album, “An Honest Mistake”, sounds like New Order and The Strokes simultaneously covering Blondie’s “Atomic” – it’s that brilliant, or that hideous depending on your point of view. Me, I think it’s one of the most arresting openings to a first album since…well, since records began.

That the remainder of “The Bravery” doesn’t immediately crumple and shrivel in comparison is a testament to the talent deployed here. Cut from similar cloth the other ten tracks may be, but they’re much more variation than imitation. The Bravery are also adept at turning in a tantalisingly tricksy intro – “Fearless” opens with the sound of Eno being mauled by fairground machinery, “Tyrant” is all rolling synth breakers and acid burbles, and “Out Of Time” struts like Blondie’s (again) “Call Me” gone electroclash(er).

Sam Endicott’s vocals are pitched midway between Robert Smith and Julian Casablancas, the former’s troubled mewling married to the latter’s propensity for sounding like he’s singing down a hosepipe. “Public Service Announcement” takes on those pesky Franz boys at their own tawdry game, emerging victorious from this jerky punk-funk jousting tournament. “Unconditional” boasts another one of those play-me-forever intros and percussive fusillades of an intensity that recalls Joy Division’s “Transmission”. “The Ring Song” even offers tantalising glimpses of heavily veiled humour, its anti-matrimony lyric confessing blearily “I must have had fun ‘cos now I’m broke”.

Perhaps the sugary, fizzy fun evaporates before the album does, and Endicott’s own production might be considered a little too occluded for comfort – or maybe I’ve just ruined my ears by repeatedly chasing this album onto the platter after Beck’s highest of fi newie. Nevertheless, if you feel you’ve been sold a pup by an overexcitable music press with Franz Ferdinand, invest in The Bravery with confidence.