John Bradley has a mystic way with his music. Making his recordings from Hobart, Tasmania I had no idea what I should be expecting when it came to the island below the country of Australia. Solidarity can come in all shapes and sizes. But being able to pick the apple from the cherry tree (insinuating that this album is a rare gem) Bradley has had his work cut out for him. Before he self-recorded his debut album The Leader of Cats, his back catalog goes back to being a member in a funk band, recording with local artists such as Enola Fall and Polanyi, to being a part of the King Carousel, the alternative pop band.
It’s hard to listen to an album and then try and not become stuck on that one song, you want to play over and over. With The Leader of Cats that was true of not just one song but a few specifically “Washtown Blues,” “Western,” “Whores,” and “I’m A Brooklyn Man.” Generally it’s difficult for one musician just to come up with a single to start off the rest of the tracks. But for Bradley, the first few tracks of the album would make you want to implement them into a John Hughes film, when the character finally begins that coming of age process. You can physically hear the songs growing towards a lasting impression.
The album flows freely with an intelligent use of mixed electronics, using synths to the utmost advantage. With a fleeting 80's backbeat in “I'm A Brooklyn Man,” Bradley easily converts his style from fun to a prodigy when the track “_” (yes, the title is an underscore) gives us an insight to a beautiful piano piece that would become well suited for a packed orchestrated house. What ties the 11 songs together in the album is the driven force that leads up to the 9th-11th tracks. They are able to mix a pop relic without losing the credibility, whether it’s because it sounds fake or in other cases it’s 'bubble gum pop.'
As the tracks reflect from the first to the last, this album not only has a distinct hold on the listener but it has a diversity for virtually every range of musical emotion. Ending on good terms with an instrumental piece called “Washtown Blues” that receives a spot light of attention as it wraps up, but somehow gives a nostalgic longing for a never ending, good sensation.
The Leader of Cats was released on June 9th of this year. So if you still haven't taken the time to listen to a few songs or even to the album in full, I would suggest you take a weekend and let this album sink its harboring soul and filter your senses.
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