When the Bravery's Sam Endicott sat down to start writing the songs for his band's new album, he had a couple of very distinct goals in mind.
"I definitely didn't give a sh-- about being cool anymore," he said. "You can get so caught up in impressing the people on your block that you lose sight of everything that's important. It's important to be a good band, and it's important to make good music. Everything else isn't important.
"And secondly," he continued. "I decided I was definitely over talking sh-- about other bands."
Which means that as Endicott and his bandmates begin work on album number two, there will be no more blog backlash to deal with and no heated spats with fellow synth revisionists (see "Killers Beef, Hipster Backlash Can't Bring The Bravery Down"). Instead, drama-mongers will have to be content with the Bravery as a real rock and roll band.
"We've become a better band, thanks to touring for, like, 18 months, and it shows on the new record," Endicott said. "There's more of a live-band thing going on. We went so synth-crazy on the first one, we kind of burned out on it, and so it's exciting to hear a piano or an acoustic guitar. The first record, everything was really speedy, and this one has a much wider range of styles: slow synth songs, rockers, dance songs."
The band is one month into sessions with producer Brendan O'Brien (Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen) at his Atlanta studio, working on a batch of 15 songs. Endicott wrote the tracks in two feverish sessions, first in a makeshift recording studio on the back of their tour bus during their three-month stint opening for Depeche Mode in Europe and then back in New York City under equally grizzly conditions.
"In May, I came back to New York and I holed up in a hotel room and just grew a beard and kicked it J.D. Salinger style, and I wrote the other half of the album," Endicott said. "None of us had homes when we came back from tour, so we were all sort of like hermits, living all over the place."
And that concept of returning home after a long absence — and dealing with the repercussions of that time away — is all over the new record. Endicott said the LP follows in the same broken-relationship vein of the Bravery's first single, "An Honest Mistake" (see "The Bravery Fight Nerves As They Prepare To Drop Debut LP").
"It's even more about relationships," he said. "I guess I would say it's more personal. The whole band has been through a lot. There's a spiritual element to the record. It's about thinking about your life and what it means and what is beyond all this. I didn't intend to write it in that way; that just seems to be a theme. We've all in the last couple of years had to reassess our lives and take stock of things."
The band hopes to wrap up sessions with O'Brien in the fall and have the new — and still-untitled — album in stores in early 2007. And though Endicott is keeping specific details about the record close to the vest, he did reveal his plans for the first single — or, more specifically, all 15 first singles.
"I don't know what the first single will be," he said. "I'm no good at stuff like that. I just try to make 'em all good and whatever the people end up choosing, it'll be good. If I'm proud of all of them, then I'll be happy for whichever song they end up picking to be the first one out. So, at the moment, I would say there are 15 potential first singles on the record."