Blues Magazine Album Review 03/10/19
How good is it to occasionally surrender completely to classic rock sounds? And you get that to a large extent with the Scottish band Bravado . This band from Dundee consists of Pamela Stewart (vocals), Paula Knight (guitar, vocals), Mally Jones (keys), Steve Magners (bass) and Alan McWilliams (drums).
The follow-up to the first album ‘Pause Stop Rewind’ (2016) is full of rock in which you encounter influences such as Uriah Heep, Marillion and especially Heart. The latter is mainly due to the very passionate, say, soulful vocals of front lady Pamela Stewart. Her singing is somewhere between Ann Wilson and our own Anneke van Giersbergen (The Gathering).
The classic rock sound immediately bursts out in the opener Dark Side , which consists of two parts. A solid melodic song that leans against the prog rock. The keyboards play an important role in this song and Paula Knight proves to be a great guitarist here.
The influences of Heart emerge for the first time in Guilty. An angular riffing song that rocks a bit lighter. Pamela’s passionate singing steals the show in the floating ballad Where Have You Been? with a high Heart content. Past The Point immediately thumps out your speakers. A pumping riff rocker with excellent vocals from both ladies and slight Uriah Heep influences.
Heart is again fully present in the up-tempo rockerLook Into Me with flaming solo guitar play by Paula. In the melodic mid-tempo Memories Of You , the Heart influences and symphonic influences a la Marillion do not seem to bite each other at all. The same mix can also be heard in the ballad Wasteland (with David Gilmour-like guitar work) and in Better Than Lonely .
The fierce Circles seems absolutely ripe for the charts! Return To Rock is an indictment of things like “autotune” and “sampling” and is above all a call to go rock! And that will certainly work with this pumping rocker!
Ballad Of Roxy And Timhas a pretty misleading song title. Nothing ballad! But a scouring pumping rocker in which the cold turkey adventures of Roxy and Tim (of both the drugs and afterwards the drink) are shaped in a majestic sound.
Bravado is a band that will be welcomed with open arms in particular by fans of Heart. Their second album has again become a great classic rock album!
Blues Bunny Album Review 07/07/19
Once a rock always a rock. Or so the story that I just made up goes. What, you may wonder, has that got to do with Dundee based band Bravado and their new album Cascadia? Well, it isn’t anything to do with the great secrets of the universe like Colonel Sanders’ recipe for fried chicken (not a sponsor but we have always been firm believers in saturated fat here at Bluesbunny Towers).
I shall tell you anyway. Way back in the alcohol fuelled mists of time there was a rock singer doing the rounds in dear old Glasgow town called Paula Knight and it turns out that she is now the principal songwriter for Bravado. Or, indeed, a songwriter with bravado (ha!) as “Cascadia” turns out to be a convincing rock album of the old school. By that I mean that this is almost a concept album with a story being told over the course of these twelve songs just like such things were done when twelve inches of plastic were all that a man would want to make his weekend life complete. That and beer, of course.
To a notable extent, this makes “Cascadia” a very conventional rock album, yet it has also to be said that this kind of music is not easy to produce as it demands more song writing and performance skills than your average riff merchant can manage in these technologically enhanced days. The songs themselves have enough of a rock opera vibe to make the stage their natural home and Pamela Stewart handles her out front duties with enough dramatic style to make you want to hear the next one. Solid support, especially from the ever insistent Steven Magners on bass keep the songs rolling purposely forward.
“Cascadia” therefore works for me as all thing that are done well usually do. Just play loud, add beer and it will likely work for you too.
Best song? The theatrical “Ballad of Roxy and Tim”.
The verdict? Solid as a rock. Well, it would be and, clearly, you can’t keep a good Paula Knight down.
Kobzer.de Album Review 07/06/19
With their album, BRAVADO can bridge the gap between commercial accessibility and underground tithe. “Cascadia” has become catchy and accessible. You will find this experimentation joy, but it is rewarded with uncomplicated and fresh sounds that go straight to the ear with their high level of melody. BRAVADO are comprehensible and hit-and-mortar, without using the usual stereotypes of their genre. Dense and voluminous compositions inspire with fragility and lightness, without, however, drifting away into triviality. The harmonic sound constructs meet fragile acoustic passages that contrast the hardness of the riffs. This mix inspires with freshness and innovation. The songs are so full of emotional depth and get almost epic features due to the impressive implementation. BRAVADO have just created great and emotionally moving music. They can do without much hardship, but have a source of harmonies, which provide a permanent tension. The authentic, melodious vocals also make them recognizable. BRAVADO experiment with loud and soft and light-shadow contrasts and combine them very skilfully into a harmonizing whole that is simple but profound. And just this ability to achieve so much in terms of impression, emotion and innovation with really few resources makes this band unique. You have to hear it yourself or, better said, have experienced it to get an impression of “Cascadia
Zeitgeist Magazine Review 17/09/19
Cauld winter was howlin’ o’er moor and o’er mountain,
And wild was the surge of the dark rolling sea,
When I met about daybreak a bonnie young lassie,
Wha asked me the road and the miles to Dundee.
Normally I wouldn’t bother. Mainly because I’ve been to Dundee before. But it would almost be worth dragging myself over two bridges to get there now that Dundee actually has a decent rock band. That would be Bravado who, on album number two are made up of Pamela Stewart (vocals), Paula Knight (guitar, vocals), Mally Jones (keyboards), Steve Magners (bass) and Alan McWilliams (drums).
After a bit of a fake opening they set about the business of playing classic rock (with a few pop references) with gusto. There is certainly plenty here for fans of melodic rock to enjoy with an enjoyable mixture of hard riffs (‘Guilty’) and softer moments (‘Where Have You Been?) that works well. In places the guitars have a new prog sound to them that fits surprisingly well. Ms Stewart has a very strong voice while Ms Knight gets a tip of the hat for both writing the songs and playing thon fine guitar.
In places it’s definitely got an eighties vibe but I’m assuming that’s what they were going for. If so it’s a job well done, especially when they turn the temperature up. Something that makes songs like ‘Circles’ and ‘Return To Rock’ a rerr terr. They’re not reinventing the wheel here but there is always an audience for well performed rock. And that’s what you’re getting here.