With an EP title that seems to point to the Colin Meloy Sings EPs, Seattle-based songwriter, Colin Bradford, has made a statement saying, "These songs are mine." He started his musical journey as a classical guitarist before making the move to alternative and punk bands. But his sound and his songs have grown up since then, with the presentation of the five songs that make up Colin Bradford Sings Colin Bradford. It's a very guitar-centric album without featuring the annoying aspects of typical guitar music; rather, it feels like all of the songs were written on the guitar.
Electric guitars and electric piano play off of each other as the EP begins with "I'm Happy, I Think,” a song about making the best of what you've got even if you feel ambivalent. Accordion comes into play on "What Comes Around Goes Around,” a somber song that ultimately suffers from a lack of lyrical direction. Bradford sings, "you think it's a joke, all mirrors and smoke" but you never find out where "it" is. Is it a bad relationship where the other person has no clue that things have gone off track? There isn't enough there to be sure. "Cigarettes" is perfectly arranged, with fingerpicked acoustic guitars accompanied by beautiful, fuzzy atmospherics as Bradford sings a melancholy melody of personal struggle.
Singing about that guy in the office that nobody seems to notice, you're not even sure that he really exists, "Invisible Man" reminds me of "These Arms" from Matt Costa's first solo album. It continues in the same vein as the rest of the EP, a group of songs marked by melancholy and feeling like you've lost something but can't be sure what that thing is. And closing with a song about getting high and thinking about childhood winters instead of going to work, "Snowflakes" feels like a nice song musically, but lyrically, it feels lazily written.
Ultimately Colin Bradford Sings Colin Bradford is an EP marked by performances that feel like they were considered good enough, rather than the best possible take that they could have gotten. Lyrically, it's adequate, sometimes much more than adequate. But while it could use some extra work, it's still nice to listen to. The songs were arranged very well and the instrumentation choices are perfect for each song.
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