Robert Bradley and his band of musical rogues have a mixed bag of surprises on their forthcoming album, New Ground. Bradley seems to want his music to be construed as a backwoods cauldron of rock n” roll, gospel, and country. This self-conscious record produces an indecisive blend of pop pretending to be rock, blues and soul. Imagine Lionel Richie trying to do a roots-rock Americana album.

Paul Wong
Shut up and listen to my order!<br><br>Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Lyrically, Bradley has a deep respect for storytelling and oral tradition. On “Lindy,” Bradley reminisces about listening to the old hits of the day with a girl “she turned it up / on Jerry and Bob / you know it”s a shame y”all / but a lot of souls have gone back to God.” Sadly, the song”s funky vaudevillian piano beat is buried under a perplexing array of electronic noises, dog barks, and handclaps.

There is a Mr. Hyde side to Bradley”s lyrical abilities as well, evident in songs like “Nightlife,” which apparently only consists of one line “Don”t let the nightlife/ don”t let it get you down, girl.” Indeed.

“Born in America” gives us the last thing this country needs right now another song referencing the “home of the red, white and blue.” Leave it to the experts, guys Springsteen and Credence Clearwater Revival pretty much raised the bar on that one, and nobody (no, not even Kid Rock) should be messin” with the patriotic-rock-song record.

“Profile” is New Ground”s undisputed ball-buster a hard rockin”, hard livin” anthem that would make AC/DC envious. Folks, this is serious arena-rock material, and is, in fact, worth the entire $16 you”re going to have to shell out for the record.

If you”re an ad exec looking for a CD to listen to on your way to work that makes you feel slightly “rockin”,” (but not too rockin”!) then look no further. The rest of you, please file New Ground under “rock n” roll shouldn”t be this difficult.” And in the meantime don”t let the nightlife get you down.

Grade: B-

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