The Kundalini Target - Steve Cradock Album Review
It has always been an unwritten, immutable truth that Steve Cradock cannot sing. This view had been substantiated by the argument that if he could hold a tune half as good as his buddy and the Ocean Colour Scene front man, Simon Fowler. Then surely, given Cradock's undoubted status as one of the best guitarists of the last two decades and the fact that he is seen by many as being the man responsible for inputting the oomph, drive and rhythm into the Madchester scene and the post-mod era. You'd be forgiven for thinking that if he had any voice that was capable of more than low-key backing status, then surely he would have already forged a solo career to rival the likes of Paul Weller and Richard Ashcroft?
With 'Something Better', a swooning ballad of an opener to this debut album, Cradock's skill and arguably his limitations are laid out to bear. Purists will point out that he doesn't attempt any high notes, but given the personal and swooning nature of the track he doesn't necessarily need to. The slightly weary lag is glossed over by a stirring piano and weaving acoustic guitar base. Be grateful for what you have is the laudable lyrical message and the overall impression given off, it has you settling down all prepared for some low-key philosophy and well weaved tune crafting. You're not disappointed either, as the slightly upbeat, nostalgia spewing 'Apple', makes us appreciate our roots and of course Mr Craddock's as well.
Maudlin reflection pushes its way to the fore in 'You Paint Your Picture', bearing out a mournful, poetic edge punctuated with a weaving acoustic pattern. This latter element draws out the romantic searching and reflection concealed within the lyrics;
I'm silent like a shadow, my lovelight tenders embers.
The blank pages lying fallow are for love songs of tomorrow.
With 'On and On', Cradock has produced the Bacon & Brie Panini of all pop songs; crisp and melting, as the vocals are given an uplifting gloss, helped along by the comforting touch of Paul Weller. This feel-good factor flows inextricably into the searching ballad, 'The Clothes They Stood Up In'. A striking feature that appears, almost from nowhere, is a lobbing Duke Special spirited piano kick that gives the likes of 'Still Trying' and 'Ask The Sound', a colourful coating. With a gospel trickle giving the latter number a bit of boldness and heart.
The answer to the question, why it has taken the Cradster so long to step out into the exposing solo limelight still goes unanswered. Then again, don't we need a bit more mystery in modern music?
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