Brad: Best Friends? (Monkeywrench) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Thursday, February 27th, 2020  


Best Friends?


Sep 29, 2010 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

With its fourth album, Brad, best known as the collaborative project between singer-songwriter Shawn Smith and Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard, continues to be an under-appreciated jewel of a band. Over the past decade, Smith has proven himself to be one of the best singers too few people know about (check out his four solo releases for the undeniable proof), and with Brad, his vocal and songwriting talents are fleshed out by a crack band. The songs on Best Friends? smolder and burn with soulful fire, evoking both the best of pop balladry (see the uplifting "Believe in Yourself") and rock-oriented jam (the Prince-like keyboard- and guitar-led "Low," or The Rolling Stones' "Bitch"-esque "Oh My Goodness").

Gossard's guitar work here is perfect complement to that which is showcased in his more recognized band. Here, his playing is loose and ethereal, with a dreamlike quality that casts the songs on the breeze instead of tethering them earth-bound in brash riffery. Somehow, despite the talent showcased in this band, Brad has managed to stay under the radar pretty much since its inception (excepting the brief period of mainstream infatuation at their 1993 debut, due no doubt to Pearl Jam's great popularity at the time). Perhaps Best Friends? will change that for Brad. If not, relish in the seldom told secret. (

Author rating: 7/10

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