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SUPER DISTORTION (Utopia International) CD

SUPER DISTORTION is just one of many projects of Pete Bradley, who was completely unknown to me until I received this promo disc from Pointy Bird Records. But he seems to be a very creative musician with a wide array of different styles ranging from electronica and experimental stuff to psychedelica. SUPER DISTORTION can be assigned to the latter genre, even though there is still more to discover. There are songs like 'Living Thing' that are deeply rooted in the 1960's and remind of all the countless garage bands of that decade - only with the difference that it has a modern approach.

'The Golden Rule' is another 1960's-infected tune with acoustic guitars and West Coast-esque vocal harmonies. With 'Beautiful Life' and 'Mind King', Pete Bradley goes in another direction, primarily because of the guitar tone that is strongly suggestive of Neil Young. The smooth vocal lines in 'Beautiful Life', on the other hand, evoke memories of mid-1970's Pink Floyd, which shows that not each track is easy to classify. Pete Bradley takes up different influences to develop his own sonic style without being on a complete retro-trip. 'Mr Spock', for example, has a modern feel to it due to the heaviness of the riffs, but Bradley's vocals sound typically English and remind me of The Beatles. Here, we have the same kind of pop sensibilities that we know from the Fab Four.

In contrast to this, 'Can You See The Patterns?' has much in common with Robert Calvert-era Hawkwind, proving once more that this album is packed full of good surprises. But for my taste, 'Utopia International' is too feeble in certain moments and I would like to hear more emotion in Pete Bradley's voice. However, there is plenty of variety in the included 10 songs to keep the album exciting, so it doesn't really bother me. Only sometimes. 'Utopia International' is an eccentric and individual piece of work that won't please everyone, but if you have a weakness for an updated version of 1960's-inspired psych pop/rock then it's no mistake to check out SUPER DISTORTION.