CD REVIEW: Brad
Welcome to Discovery Park
Rundown: A lot of musicians claim they want to expand their musical horizons when embarking on a solo or side project, but their real goal is to expand their bank accounts with a new set of royalties. It's rare that a musician actually creates a new and distinct sound from their "day job," but guitarist Stone Gossard (Pearl Jam) manages to do just that on
Welcome to Discovery Park, the third album from his band, Brad.
Welcome is the calm before the storm that will be Pearl Jam's new album in November, but Brad proves with this record that they are a real and solid band, rather than just a "Pearl Jam spin-off."
tracks: The best song on the album, "Brothers and Sisters," is more of a soul song than it is rock. As for the man who co-wrote such rock anthems as "Alive" and "Even Flow," Gossard uses this album to show his skills on rhythm guitar. His playing is mostly tight and low-key, though he occasionally brings a heavier sound in songs like "Revolution" and "La, La, La."
like: Calling Brad "Gossard's band" is a bit of a misnomer, since pianist/singer Shawn Smith does the majority of the songwriting. Since Smith's songs are based around the piano, the result is a very melodic, flowing sound which is closer to John Lennon than it is to Pearl Jam.
Gossard has said the members of Brad wrote their songs after jamming in the studio, but there aren't too many pearls in their jams (rim shot). Their attempt at a loose and spontaneous sound is usually successful, but there are more than a few tunes on the album that sound unfocused and don't really go anywhere.
When push comes to shove, Brad is a lot more than just a side project.