Third times the charm between me and Braddock Station Garrison. Earlier this year, they released their third album, American Radio. It's been two years since they released Saint Stephanie and the Stones (our review is linked here), but it doesn't seem like five minutes have passed. As with each new release from a band or artist, you expect one of two things - "complete change" or "more of the same". Both options are important, depending on the genre/band in question. I will look at more a little later on, but I really want to get onto the review, so let's get to it.
01 - Blockbuster
"Blockbuster" starts this album with a standard American Classic Rock track. There are no frills, spills or notes wasted. It's a focused track, with a catchy little beat and riff that can be a real earworm. I like this song, it feels like a continuation of their previous records, which is not a bad thing at all.
02 - Small Town Scene
"Small Town Scene" has a real R.E.M. vibe about it, around about Life's Rich Pagent-era sound. I like the energy of the track, it has a positivity to the music, with a brilliant set of lyrics too. There were a couple of notes which sounded a little too high in places, but overall, it was another good song.
03 - Travellin' Bible Salesman
Another bouncing song, "Travellin' Bible Salesmen" is a song about an unwanted man, selling lies and slander. This is one of my favourite song of the album, it's one of the louder numbers on the album, but it's keeps everything within the style of the album. With each spin, it digs in a little deeper. It's a quality tune.
04 - When You Say
"When You Say" is the first slower number of American Radio, but again, there keep everything in the tone of the record. It's a song which has a little bit of fear about it, mixed in with a little bit of love for good measure. The lyrics seem to be a tiny bit too long for music in places. Almost as if they're saying everything, but with a limited space of time to do so. But the song is still a solid, dependable number.
05 - Border Run
"Border Run" brings the mood down once again, adding further depth (again, within the fixed parameters of their sound) to American Radio. Everything feels like a puzzle which has come together with this song, creating a track that have emotional depth and a great performance from BSG. One of the highlights of this album.
06 - John Lennon in California
With good timing, "John Lennon in California" brings back the energy to American Radio. This is a good thing. Bands/artists often go down a slower path too long on an album of this ilk. But not BSG, they've got their heads screwed on. Thankfully, "John Lennon in California" is a good number as well. It's not a larger than life number, but it's one that is in keeping with this album. That is not a bad thing at all.
07 - Pretty Girls in White Cars
"Pretty Girls in White Cars" is a standard Classic Rock number, one that reminds me a bit of the Gin Blossoms in places. It's a decent song, but it's the only one which I sort of could get into. This can happen and it's no fault of BSG's, sometimes a song is not for you. So, onto the next number.....
08 - Kathy's Eyes
"Kathy's Eyes" is a bouncy little number! I have to admit, it's not my type of thing, but it's one that has my toes tapping and it's one that I've thought about long after it's stopped playing. That's the sign of a good song in my books! As you would expect on this record, it's a Classic Rock number, with a large slice of Heartland Rock in their as well. It's a brilliant number, one of the best on this album.
09 - Jailhouse Bars
"Jailhouse Bars" is the penultimate song of American Radio, which contains a hard little edge. Whilst it's not a massive leap to their sound, it does feel a bit heavier than the other nine tracks on offer. "Jailhouse Bars" is a good, solid number that keeps everything heading in the right direction.
10 - American Radio
The title track ends this slice of Classic Rock, with a slow lament to the past. It brings the curtains down, let's the clock wind down, places the chairs on the table, you know - that sort of thing. It's a good ending track to this record, bring this album to a fitting conclusion. As the song fades and the band is still playing, it sort of makes you wish they had have extended the ending. But that is just me, I like to hear a final note.
The old adage goes, if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it. Braddock Station Garrison deal is a very safe style of music, you're not going to have solos that go on for twenty minutes, drum solos or Death Metal grunting. What BSG deal in is a Classic Rock sound with connections to R.E.M., The Beatles, Toad the Wet Sprocket and Gin Blossoms. If you're wanting something Electronic or exotic, American Radio will not be for you. But this doesn't mean that this album is an awful release or poor. For their chosen genre, Braddock Station Garrison are a very good band. Apart from trying to reach a few notes that are slightly out of their vocal range, American Radio is a solid, subtle and dependable Classic Rock album. Now, you may remember at the beginning of this review, I said that all records from a band fall into one of two categories. American Radio falls into the section marked "more of the same" and this is what I was hoping for/expected. You need a record such as this at times, for each album one that explodes like dynamite in a quarry and changes everything, there should be the opposite. You need an album that is a solid, unflinching example of the genre it represents. American Radio fits this description like a glove, sometimes that is all you want out of an album.
7 out of ten - This is good and worth checking out
Top track - Kathy's Eyes
You can purchase American Radio from the Braddock Station Garrison Bandcamp page here.
You can purchase American Radio from Amazon here.
You can visit the Braddock Station Garrison website here.
You can follow the activities of Braddock Station Garrison on Facebook here.
You can stream American Radio on Spotify here.
You can stream American Radio on Deezer here.
You can stream American Radio on Tidal here.