Successful first venture into solo territory

Tim Bradley couldn’t be any less of a rock star. He doesn’t live in a tasteless mansion in Beverly Hills, isn’t dating a silicone enhanced plaything and has probably never even thrown a television out of a hotel bedroom – he’s a recently married 27 year old Primary School teacher.

From Wakefield.

Some people would rather have their music played to them by bona-fide superstars; idols living a life that they can only dream of as they stare at the poster shrine on their wall. These people are obviously not going to find much to worship here, but I actually find his attainable ‘everyman’ quality rather appealing – it’s music of the people; honest, unpretentious and relevant.
‘Nineteen Eighty Four’ is Tim’s first solo outing, and has been almost 7 years in the making. He was previously to be found pounding the skins for Wakefield ‘rock heroes’ Dugong, but a love of singer-songwriters such as Kathryn Williams and Paul Simon inspired him to finally take the plunge and go it alone.
Refreshingly for a male acoustic artist, the vocals aren’t all about lost girlfriends and failed romances (not a big surprise, he did just get married) – the clue for the subject matter can rather be taken from the album title, with Orwell’s vision of an autocratic dystopia permeating through into Tim’s contemplative lyrics. For those who don’t bother reading into the lyrical content of songs in search of the hidden meaning, the job is made easier for you, as the inlay features a short written piece relating Orwell’s book to today’s society of fear-mongering and exploitation. I personally found it a bit preachy (although in a very non-aggressive way) and the inclusion of the quotes, such as Peter Ustinov’s “War is the terrorism of the rich, terrorism is the war of the poor”, a little pretentious. Whilst it’s admirable that an artist is trying to use his position to widen people’s political and social awareness, he should remember that he’s just Tim Bradbury from Wakefield, not some people’s champion or social revolutionary. Perhaps he should’ve just let his music do the talking.
And it would’ve been fairly successful in it’s task, because the music is really very good indeed. The Warlord employ a very simple formula, with Tim’s fragile vocals partnering acoustic guitar in an understated pairing that works perfectly. There are occasional superfluities, such as the Cello of Suzie Broadbent and the Violin of Sarah Bradley, whose sister Jessica contributes backing vocals to some of the tracks – but mostly this is just a ‘one man and his guitar’ show. The unfussy production lends a casual air to proceedings, with the liner notes even stating that the album was recorded in Tim’s “messy attic”. Whilst the result is a CD that sounds like ‘the one your mate made on his 4-track’, it’s all the better for it, and it’s the same with Tim’s vocals. He’s not a great vocalist by any stretch of the imagination, frequently failing to hit quite the right note – but it’s imperfections like this that add to the appeal; it’s not polished, and retains some of the quirky characteristics that make it individual. It is most definitely in this sense of personal intimacy that ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’ finds it’s strength, and it’s way into your heart.