REVIEW: Geoff Bradford — Texas Psychedelic (LP)
A solid mix of jazz, rock, pop and some dazzling psychedelic tones, the new five-track Texas Psychedelic from Geoff Bradford is full of twists and turns that audiophiles of any genre should feel excited about. Bradford’s impressive debut showcases an artist that has sponged years of influence and life experience and gels it all together in these distinctively different tracks. From the warm, sparkling tones in the title track to the last, lingering steel guitar tropes in “Words He Didn’t Say”, Bradford’s sonic journey is one of epic eclectics.
Bradford, born in New York, is one of those rare sojourners that had the opportunity to grow up in a variety of communities. His passport miles included Switzerland, France, Venezuela and Liberia. Now based in Austin, Texas, his sometimes philosophical and observant lyrics seem to contain all the measures of a man (and an artist) that has colored his life with music from each of these destinations. While other singers and songwriters might pepper in their world music tenors and embellishments, Bradford is at his best when he adeptly and smoothly transitions instrumentation. As a listener, I was struck by the seamlessness and the natural, organic movement.
The first song, the title track, is the most 60s flavored of the five songs. However, that’s not to say there isn’t dips into the more pop, even Beach Boys’ toned influences. In “This Time Is Different” (track three), Bradford sings of it being summertime and his lovey-dovey optimism never feels too saccharine, rather, it’s honey dipped charm at its finest. Oh, oh, this time is different, this must be what they’re singing of….something clicked and everything changed, Bradford sings. His voice is strong, baritone. He’s reminds me a lot of Tal Bachman (“She’s So High”). I adored “This Time Is Different” but listeners can’t go wrong with the other tracks.
“Meaningless Life” has moments of sorrow and intimate avenues. The cold night air, every sense aware…the moon like a blue diamond in the sky. He continues, sometimes I need a push. His tenor is more sensitive. He’s not brooding, but I appreciated his emotional reach. In “Drunken Bitter” has smashing guitars. The pallet, or sound base, is murkier, darker. The guitar crashes with the drums. The percussion permeating, but not overpowering. Finally, in track five, “Words He Didn’t Say”, leaves the words on the table. What a way to end the experience, only to inspire yet another spin. She’s got a flower in her hand…her heart is full of hate, he sings. A western-like steel guitar wraps itself around his voice and the very full music bed. When it’s all said and done, I wanted to investigate his words more, live within his newly-created world just a bit longer. I think the way he views the world and his relationships is quite relatable and undeniably unique. I’m anxious to hear more from this Texan and Geoff Bradford’s Texas Psychedelic EP is an outstanding starting point for not only 2021, but for an artist building an exceptionally strong foundation.