Friday, September 26, 2014

FDF Volunme 3 Issue 353 - Brad - Welcome to Discovery Park

Album – Welcome to Discovery Park
Artist - Brad
Key Players – Shawn Smith – vocals, piano, guitars, drums, synth, bass. Regan Hagar – drums, synth, guitar. Mike Berg – keyboards, piano, bass, guitars, synth, organ. Stone Gossard – guitars, drums, organ, synth, bass guitar. Jeremy Toback – bass.
Produced By – Brad, Skip Drinkwater and Phil Nicolo

Release Date – August 13, 2002

Overview - This is the third studio album from Seattle Washington band “Brad”. Formed in 1992 the band is made up of friends and collaborators. The band writes and performs at their own pace and have five full length releases. They are probably most well know as Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam's side project.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The thirteen tracks are just shy of a one hour running time. Smith is out front as “Brothers and Sisters” begins. The piano is heavy in the mix and then then the ring of Gossards guitar comes out. The tempo is somber, and it really is a a showcase for Smiths smooth vocal. The track continually grows with the band coming in stronger and fuller as Smith leads the charge with Hagar keeping the tempo spot on. "Shinin"  is more acoustic based as it begins. There is a bit more a programmed drum feel and Gossard seems to lock in to one steady progression, but Toback gives a swoop on the bass and there are slides and keyboard runs to swallow you. The electric guitars are out on “Drop it Down”. It has a deep keyboard drive to it, with the bass punching in as well and Smith is a bit more staccato is his vocals during the verses, but he hangs it out more on the chorus. It feels like the band is not sure where they want to go, the lyrics are repeated and the riffs follow suit. I could have been a bit more focused for these ears. Berg again holds down the fort as “Never Let Each Other Down” begins. Hagar and Smith join and for a bit are just a trip. A bit more layers of keyboards come in with subtle bass, but there is no guitar for much of the song, only coming in after the second run at the chorus. “If You Could Make it Good” starts similar as the prior track with a lone piano and much of the same somber mood but as the song progresses there is a bit more urgency. The piano is heavily played and Hagar gets to get after the drum kit for the first time on the record. There are layers of keyboards but the piano is really struck heavily. We get a bit more of the garage feel with "Revolution" . A more compressed vocal and some crunchy guitars. We've been waiting for this I have to admit. The bass line is terrific, Smith is responsible for it and the guitar solo. You need to hear for yourself. As you read the liner notes it becomes further evident that this is really a Shawn Smith project. Case in point on “Takin' it Easy”. Smith is credited with vocals, piano and guitars. Berg has piano duty on
“Sheepish” and Hagar is in no rush to move things along. Gossard and Smith tangle on the guitars some. It begins on the slow side but as a band they know when to push it some and it grows nicely for the duration capping with a strong solo from Smith. “All Is One” is a trio of players on the track. Smith with vocals and guitars, Berg on bass guitar and synth and Hagar on the drums. The track has a big feel to it, sometimes almost downright powerful. Smiths vocals seem a bit buried but at times he showcases his strong voice over it all which is great. When a full band plays you get results like “Couch T-Bone”. It just feels more complete, the layers are there and there is a lot of interplay. A solid album cut. We get it again on “La,La,La” as the band finds their rocking side and another about face on the piano led “Yes, You Are” that ends with a great guitar solo from Thaddeus Turner. The final track is “Arrakis” an atmospheric track with piano, keyboards and synth leading the way. Gossard is on the bass and Hagar is held in check. A quiet, and seemingly fitting close to the record.

Where are they now? The band are still active in the studio and live. They released their last studio album in 2012 called “United We Stand” and have toured since. Hagar, Gossard and Smith have remained with the band since the start.

FDF Overall Take/Was it worth Dusting Off? - There is no doubt that there is some talent in this band. I'll admit what lead this to me originally was that Stone Gossard was involved. I kept wanting the record to really break out though. Its good, and sometimes you need to appreciate things as a whole rather than single tracks, which is hard to do in this day and age.

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Disclaimer – I am just a music fan. Feel free to comment about something that may be written incorrectly about the band/members etc. I strive to have a fun and enjoyable site. This site used to post mp3s but ran in to many issues. The audio clips provided are usually from YouTube. No copy write infringement is intended. Please alert me if something should be pulled. Finally, support the artist featured, or your favorite artist by purchasing their music, seeing their shows if possible and saying hi. They need your support.


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