[sic] Magazine

Bradford – Thirty Years Of Shouting Quietly

“A lost English classic”
Stephen Street (Producer)

Bradford typified the C86 scene of the late 1980’s. The Blackburn indie band (go figure) were active from 1987 to 1991 and arguably most famous for being championed by Morrissey. More than that, Morrissey declared the band heirs to The Smiths crown. To be fair he was in the habit of doing this.

Whilst far from the cultural pariah he has become, Morrissey was a divisive character even back in 1987. An NME ever-present, hardly a week would pass without Moz proclaiming that this or that band are the greatest since his. The effect soon wore thin. This coupled with many of his other pronouncements helped make Morrissey something of a figure of fun even then. That said, The Smiths had been the UK’s leading alternative act for half of that decade. Once The Smiths ended, the UK indie scene fell into a kind of ‘Dark Ages’. Not because the various remaining acts were scrabbling for supremacy. Just simply that nobody really achieved it. Nobody stepped up and really seized the crown. However if you subscribe to the Kingmaker theory then the heirs to the throne should have been Bradford.

This re-issue from the A Turntable Friend Records brings together the bands acclaimed album originally for Stephen Street’s Foundation label plus associated tracks and b sides. Early Bradford single ‘Skin Storm’ is notable for having being subsequently covered by the solo Morrissey. ‘In Liverpool’ had been a single of the week in Record Mirror. Thirty Years Of Shouting Quietly is newly remastered and contains some material never previously released. The music still holds up, sounding a lot more polished than the jangly and often shambolic music of their peers. We were a step away from Stone Roses and Madchester at that time. Bradford were always looking somewhat further and wider and never quite caught the zeitgeist. There’s a pastoral sixties feel to songs like ‘Gang Of One’ that shows the seeds of Britpop. You can certainly see the sightline connecting Bradford to future bands such as Gene, Travis and even Hatcham Social. There’s a flutter and warble to Ian H’s vocal that certainly brings Martin Rossiter to mind. Yet Bradford were a little rough(er) around the edges. A little bit more rock n roll perhaps.

As we look back with the benefit of 20:20 hindsight we know that Bradford hardly made much of a splash. Yet maybe they were a little unlucky with timing. This loving, niche re-issue serves as a wonderful document to what might have been.


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