By Paul Laird
I was seventeen years old when “Shouting Quietly” was released. A child. I didn’t actually hear it until about eighteen months after its release…I missed a lot of things at that point in time. Religion, faith and guilt had led me to believe that my soul, and the souls of strangers, required me to leave my cosy home in a coastal town in Fife and head to East Anglia to pound streets and knock on
doors asking people if they had ever heard of “The Book of Mormon”. Ask that question today and people will say “Yes, but I haven’t managed to get tickets to see it yet.”. Ask that question on a ropey estate in Bury St. Edmunds in 1991 and you would have been verbally, occasionally physically, assaulted. Praise be.
When I returned after just nine months of the twenty-four I had agreed to I set about reacquainting myself with all of the music I had been forbidden to listen to (apparently God really doesn’t like pop music when you are serving Him) and discovering new music. One of the things I discovered was Bradford’s “Shouting Quietly”. As ever at that time this discovery was the result of Morrissey. He had covered “Skin Storm” on the B-side of “Pregnant For the Last Time” and that was all the reason I needed to investigate further.
Now, three decades later, it is Bradford I find myself returning to over and over again, not the Pope of Mope. There is something so charming, so poetic, so truthful and so beautiful across those eleven songs. All of the things we thought were true of Morrissey…charm, wit, grace, romance and warmth are all here in abundance. At times it is almost overpowering.
There is something in the voice of singer Ian Hodgson that makes me feel…safe, secure and succoured. It is rich and warm, pure and bright. A voice from the soul, the sound of one man baring all and allowing you to share in that honesty, maybe inspiring you to do the same.
“To have and to hurt you, now the two of us are crying”, indeed we are…every single time.
It would have been to have missed “Shouting Quietly” when it was released. Madchester, rave, baggy jeans, ecstasy and the rest were dominating the musical and cultural dialogue. People wanted the shenanigans of Shaun and Bez. A pre-lad culture was everywhere. A band like Bradford couldn’t find a place, find a space, to be heard or to reach people. But just because you missed it then doesn’t mean you have to miss it now.
In troubled times, in dark days and in moments of enforced isolation what you really need is music that speaks to your vulnerability, to your core, that is born of heart and that cries out with a joyful melancholy. This is the right time for Bradford. Don’t make the same mistake again…listen and learn.
Shout about it, but not quietly.
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