Bradford were a band from Blackburn (I know, it's confusing) who were once saddled with the 'new Smiths' tag that plenty of 80's bands had to endure. Sadly for Bradford the collapse of Rough Trade and the emergence of the more uplifting 'Madchester' scene did for their brand of mopey jangle. Oh yeah they also had a song called 'In Liverpool' just so they could squeeze another northern city into their history.
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Literally the worst thing that could happen to a band in the 80's was to get the 'new Smiths' tag....and even worse was to be given the Morrissey seal of approval. Bradford had both and so it's no surprise that they pretty soon called it a day and were never seen again.....
.....until now where anything goes in the reinvention and re-coagulation of '80s indie history. Bradford were very typical of bands of that era. All the elements were in place - fronted by a brainy wordsmith - check, spangling Johnny Marr guitars - also check ...but they lacked the splendid songwriting and unique melodic interplay that ensured that the Smiths were way ahead of most other bands of the era. Listening to 'Thirty Years of Shouting Quietly' and comparing it to the best music of the era is like watching a stellar football team take on a plodding sunday league outfit. It's sort of easy to see where the songs are going, there's no element of surprise, no real memorable hooks. That said tracks like 'Adrift Again' are pretty perky examples of guitar pop with it's adroit horns and snappy chorus. They also have a nice line in melancholy which matches the picture of them on the cover posing next to some industrial mayhem.
Instead we should forget about the Smiths and realise that there's something of a less technicolour Teardrop Explodes about Bradford, the vocals are like a less eccentric Julian Cope and the songs breeze along in the same 60s influenced manner. Despite their undoubted enthusiasm, Bradford are lumbering midtable in the second division of 80s indie but like I say with a lot of these re-issues - if you can't get enough of this stuff here is a well put together reminder of simpler times.
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- Thirty Years Of Shouting Quietly by Bradford
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