The Even Ground

With an EP title that seems to point to the Colin Meloy Sings EPs, Seattle-based songwriter, Colin Bradford, has made a statement saying, "These songs are mine." He started his musical journey as a classical guitarist before making the move to alternative and punk bands. But his sound and his songs have grown up since then, with the presentation of the five songs that make up Colin Bradford Sings Colin Bradford. It's a very guitar-centric album without featuring the annoying aspects of typical guitar music; rather, it feels like all of the songs were written on the guitar. 

Electric guitars and electric piano play off of each other as the EP begins with "I'm Happy, I Think,” a song about making the best of what you've got even if you feel ambivalent. Accordion comes into play on "What Comes Around Goes Around,” a somber song that ultimately suffers from a lack of lyrical direction. Bradford sings, "you think it's a joke, all mirrors and smoke" but you never find out where "it" is. Is it a bad relationship where the other person has no clue that things have gone off track? There isn't enough there to be sure.  "Cigarettes" is perfectly arranged, with fingerpicked acoustic guitars accompanied by beautiful, fuzzy atmospherics as Bradford sings a melancholy melody of personal struggle.

Singing about that guy in the office that nobody seems to notice, you're not even sure that he really exists, "Invisible Man" reminds me of "These Arms" from Matt Costa's first solo album. It continues in the same vein as the rest of the EP, a group of songs marked by melancholy and feeling like you've lost something but can't be sure what that thing is. And closing with a song about getting high and thinking about childhood winters instead of going to work, "Snowflakes" feels like a nice song musically, but lyrically, it feels lazily written.

Ultimately Colin Bradford Sings Colin Bradford is an EP marked by performances that feel like they were considered good enough, rather than the best possible take that they could have gotten. Lyrically, it's adequate, sometimes much more than adequate. But while it could use some extra work, it's still nice to listen to. The songs were arranged very well and the instrumentation choices are perfect for each song. 

Enigma Online

If introspection is your thing, Colin has it in spades. As the guitarist for the Seattle alt/indie band Starry Eyed Samurai, Mr. Bradford branches out into the acoustic/folk realm for some very intimate and personal meditations on childhood and growing into adulthood. This is definitely NOT a party record!

However, it IS a great album full of not just contemplation, but also some serious musicianship, from classically influenced acoustic to jazz influenced dreampop. There's even a guitar solo near the end of the song "Snowflakes".

Colin's an expert musician and a pretty darn good songwriter to boot, the 6 tracks on this e.p. demonstrate the kind of musical refinement and virtuosity that only an experienced artist can get away with while keeping dignity in tact. Through the smoky haze of personal reflection is a glimpse of hope and the promise of better tomorrows.

The e.p. starts off with "I'm Happy I Think", a slowdrag with layered harmony vocals and a spacious chorus, think maybe Weezer without the comedy routine.

Colin's penchant for 'heart on sleeve' works with the vibe created here, there's a vulnerability and honesty that is welcoming to my ears. There's no hidden irony, no inside jokes... just pure emotion and a certain rawness that emerges, even through the stellar production quality.

If you're 'in one of those moods' you should really give this one a try, it's relateable on many levels and the musicality will keep you coming back.

This record will be available on vinyl mid July, but can be purchased digitally now @ colinbradford.bandcamp.com

An inescapable question emerges from Colin Bradford Sings Colin Bradford: can any real sense of a person be expressed in just five songs? Here, the answer is yes. The album earns its title by conveying introspection. Although there is a personal element, Bradford delivers it in a way that is relatable.

The opening song, "I'm Happy I Think" has a soft rhythmic texture that artfully accompanies the sharp content. Bradford croons, "I have the keys to a heated apartment, I go to work where I get paid, watch a movie on the weekends, I guess everything is OK." On "Cigarettes" Bradford faithfully assumes a haunting tone, repeating "We all have regrets and I can't quit these cigarettes." But these and other seemingly ominous moments are intricately assembled with perspective. They are played with a delicacy that is hopeful, not doomed. Overwhelmingly, this album is an oscillation between the complex and lighthearted.

Listening to these tracks is like sitting down with a good friend to talk, if that friend told their story in warm, layered vocals set to melodic instrumentation. It took about a year to write most of the album, but some of the songs have been in the works for three or four years. Bradford says he wrote out of necessity. "I have to get things out," he explains, "so I can move on." - Julie Myers