The story of my relationship with Brad’s fourth album will be one of disappointment. Just off of finally figuring out what makes Welcome To Discovery Park so awesome, my initial listens to Best Friends? had me elevating them to new favorite band status. After several more listens, though, it’s a good but not great album from which I wouldn’t need to keep more than a handful of songs.
There are two reasons for the drop in disappointment and both relate to the nature of first listens. First, the album’s best songs are all up front. The first four tracks are easily the best four, and it’s not until the sixth track you get anything even close to a clunker. So in my early listens I was more affected by the stuff I was hitting first and assuming the rest would grow on me as much as the early stuff impressed me. The second reason I’m less hot on this now is that the songs, even those first four, aren’t as good as I thought. Except that’s not quite right…. You know how you like a really good song more and more as you become more familiar with it? Well these songs were so immediately accessible and beautiful that I interpolated future appreciation and built that into my initial assessment. But since Brad kind of leaves their songs half-written, a trait I touched on in my reviews of Shame and Welcome To Discovery Park, often there’s not much more to discover. “Rush Hour” is the exception here. It’s an amazingly cathartic, gorgeous work that doesn’t get old.
According to Wikipedia, the disc was recorded in 2003 but wasn’t released until 2010. That long gap is noted without comment, which is almost as odd as the gap itself. I’ve got nothing here, but I can’t help but wonder if the inspired-but-unfinished feel of the tracks is somehow related to the hiatus.
It’s still quite a good album. If this was the first album I’d heard from these guys, I’d probably be much more jazzed about it. But if I’m going to listen to Brad, I’m not going to reach for this unless it’s “Rush Hour.”
– “Rush Hour”
– “Price Of Love,” “Without Regret,” “Believe In Yourself,” “Every Whisper,” “One Love Remaining,” “Low,” “Oh My Goodness,” “Luxury Car,” “Bless Me Father,” “Runnin’ For Cover”
Song notes: Below the fold
- Price Of Love – Pretty sweet. Verses are the best part. Pre-chorus and chorus keep it at open. The release the verses seem to promise never materializes.
- Without Regret – Slow, atmospheric keys intro over guit that’s reminiscent of something Pink Floyd would have done on The Division Bell. It’s not very good. And I think it’s part of the in between part of the tracks. But this will still get knocked down to open anyway because of that.
- Rush Hour – Epic. Grandiose. Sweeping. Great.
- Believe In Yourself – Very good.
- Every Whisper – One of those Stone Gossard guitar solos where there aren’t a lot of notes, just the perfect ones.
- One Love Remaining – An “Uncomfortably Numb” vibe. It’s not so bad it upsets me to hear it, but it’s awfully boring.
- Low – Reminiscent of Van Morrison’s “Domino.” Also uses the word “domino,” so maybe that’s what I’m going off of. Love love LOVE that funky little keys riff that shows up in the second verse.
- Oh My Goodness – These last few songs are basically just one influence after another. This is sexy 70’s cock glam rock. Also seems to mention “domino”: “Here we go/Rip off the domino’s head.”(?)
- Luxury Car –
- Bless Me Father –
- Holiday – Can’t put my finger on it, but this really rubs me the wrong way. It’s just not that interesting or good, although it has some redeeming qualities.
- Runnin’ For Cover –