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
FDF Comments (aka the songs)
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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