Travel Wild – Travel Free is the third and finest solo album from skilled instrumentalist and songwriter Steve Cradock. A founding member of Ocean Colour Scene and guitarist for Paul Weller since 1992, Steve’s third solo venture is a refreshing homage to British music both past and present. The album is a conglomeration of 60’s psychedelia, mod culture, early indie with a nod towards the genre he’s most practiced in, Brit-pop.
The album is co-produced by Steve’s wife Sally whose vocals open the album on Any Way The Wind Blows. The large reverberated drums and rattling tambourines are stylistically similar to Phil Spector’s Wall Of Sound. There is a timeless feel to the album whilst also cementing Steve’s ability as a talented and focused multi-instrumentalist. Dreamy psychedelic tracks are cut up with fast-paced anthems as exemplified by Sheer Inertia’s dirty guitar…as mad as it sounds, think Super Furry Animal harmonies with Blue Öyster Cult riffs.
From Steve’s pedigree as one of the finest British guitarists of his generation, you’d expect an album brimming with screeching distorted guitars and driving drums. Travel Wild – Travel Free couldn’t be further from such expectations. The album is rife with psychedelic riffs, huge reverbs which, when twinned with Steve’s luscious melodies, are comparable to that of early indie artists such as Orange Juice. An Edwyn Collins’ vocal style is also prevalent which adds to the whole melting pot as Steve incorporates genres from his formative years and takes the listener on a coherent psychedelic tour through the decades. The resulting album whilst instantly recognisable, is also refreshing and unique.
Steve’s experimental, almost cinematic sound is apparent in the short instrumental tracks Out of Mist and Elizabethan with rewound samples and whirling organs calling to mind 70’s cult films, think The Shining and A Clockwork Orange. The atmosphere created by the wide unconventional range of instruments protrudes the album above many others this year. Steve’s uncompromising focus has steered him clear from industry trends to produce an album where he can be unprejudiced and as creative as he desires.
Embodying various genres over numerous decades, polished with the superb production, Travel Wild – Travel Free presents itself as a hazy psychedelic mirage of how an album should sound.
Steve will be touring the UK throughout October and November. Be sure to attend one of the dates as it will certainly be a spectacle to fully immerse yourself. However, it will be interesting to see how he will produce such a large sound live, and will be some feat to achieve. Never the less, judging from Steve’s skill and ambition, he is sure to pull it off.
Review by: Jake Setterfield
Album Stream via Deezer
Travel wild – Travel Free is released via Proper Records 30 September
Autumn Tour Dates
Sat 26/10 Leeds – The Wardrobe
Mon 28/10 Liverpool – East Village Arts Club
Tue 29/10 Newcastle – Cluny
Wed 30/10 Glasgow – Oran Mor
Fri 1/11 Birmingham – Library, The Institute
Sat 2/11 Sheffield – Leadmill
Mon 4/11 London – Scala
Tue 5/11 Brighton – Komedia
Wed 6/11 Manchester – Deaf Institute
Thu 7/11 Nottingham – Bodega
Fri 8/11 Bristol – Thekla