On the surface, Be Brave is just another document of an aimless 2000s garage band disguised as authentic 60s blues-rock. But once you get past the whiney pseudo-Dylan shrieks and the painfully common staticky, underwater sound, it’s apparent that The Strange Boys know at least a thing or two about what they’re doing.
Guitars, bass, drums, and harmonica all burst in together to start the album with “I See – FCC.” The vocal delivery might test your patience, but the swinging melody is undeniable as it shadows the prominent harmonica. A subtle background organ makes its mark on “Friday In Paris,” a clear indication that this band isn’t content playing unauthentic synth lines behind their old-time barroom chanters just like any other indie band. “Between Us” follows the same formula in a slower, more mellow manner. The superb cooperation between drum and bass and the guitar’s flawless way of waving dirty half-arpeggio chords in and out of the 6/8 signature make this song a standout track.
“You Can’t Only Love What You Want To” ends the album with an acoustic number full of (cleverly placed) wrong notes and subtle rhythm changes. The less favorable side of the vocals may be most abrasive here, but the song is well-structured and a perfect closer. The Strange Boys might have fallen into a gimmick, but they don’t rely on it.