The sophomore long-player from the Aussie pop provocateur, the aptly named Bravado finds Kirin J. Callinan flexing his EDM muscles while maintaining the nervy post-punk/industrial rock foundation that made his 2013 debut such a prickly affair. A wasp's nest of conflicting moods and stylistic shifts, the ten-track set is constantly challenging the listener to adapt to its whims, and any enjoyment of its fractured delights largely depends on the audience's tolerance for what is essentially the audio equivalent of shaky cam. Opener "My Moment" (ft. Sean Nicholas Savage) commences cautiously, peppered with grunts and Callinan's thick baritone, which delivers lines like "Night on the piss/the shit hits the fan" with an implied rictus grin. That the drop happens near the song's end is hardly surprising, as the piece's orgasmic framework is hardly a thing of subtlety -- Callinan, more often than not, leans toward the demonstrative side of erotica, as evidenced by the LP's inside jacket, which eschews lyrics for a bronzed, fully nude pinup of the artist. Guest spots are numerous and eclectic, with Mac DeMarco, Weyes Blood, James Chance, Alex Cameron, Connan Mockasin, Owen Pallet, and the Finn Family all joining in on the dark fun, but none of them can stand up to Callinan's larger-than-life persona. Whether he's lamenting/celebrating his country's drug culture via serpentine urban beats and icy synths ("S.A.D.") or looking inward on the melodious (and unabashedly sincere) title cut, he's doing so with the arched back of a cornered animal. With Bravado, he's traded the midnight black blast of industrial punk for the neon and vapor trail-lit blight of the dancefloor, and the results are no less compelling.
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AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger