Cultivating the radiance and finesse that is becoming her trademark, Sarah Bradley is sculpting her sound into something entirely distinctive and uniquely her own with For the Kill.
This new EP is just the most recent sign of the momentum Bradley has been building through her career, and this solo work bears the marks of the various steps she’s taken on the journey. Having first established herself in the Franco-Ontarian music scene during the 2000s, she quickly came into her own, winning awards at music competitions and opening for established francophone artists. She was launched onto the Canadian stage as a member of the highly acclaimed electro-pop-dance band FEVERS: her ample talents (vocals, keys) are most recently featured on their new sophomore album, Apologia, which will surely feature prominently in their upcoming performance at the National Arts Centre on March 3, 2018. The weight of this experience and skill is also fully brought to bear on her new solo work, and For the Kill is all the richer for it.
The EP demonstrates that while Bradley is wholly modern, she sings like she has an old soul. Keyboard-driven songs and a distinct R&B feel blend with her pop sensibilities to produce songs that are instantly gratifying. The tracks go beyond catchy hooks, but also showcase the depth of feeling, not only through Bradley’s affective voice, but also through poetic lyrics that lend an uncontrived, authentic complexity. A couple of the songs even evoke of some of pop songwriting of the early 80s and 90s, and the modern production that also imports some of the classic sounds of the era.
Bradley’s voice is disciplined and capable, and she capitalizes on this in her music here as she effortlessly croons through this collection of self-crafted compositions. Though she can usually be found performing accompanying herself on piano, For the Kill features the talented stylings of her band, which blend pop and R&B, while integrating electronic textures and refined arrangements that leave ample space for Bradley’s voice. That said, she doesn’t abandon her capabilities as a solo artist, as heard in the poignant track, “I Choose Mine”, which features Bradley’s vocal and piano talents.
Other notable songs include the opening track, “The Trip”, which has a deceptively light-hearted feel, one which is wrapped in a quality of self-assurance. The rich vocal work is laced with a jazz-pop feel that is unabashedly catchy, while at the same time conjuring a sense of resiliency. Equally hard to get out of your head is “Oh”, a laid-back, loungey, deep-groove track that capitalizes on its inescapable mainlined hook. Bradley showcases her vocal dexterity while playing with articulations and flavour, her voice gliding over the entire track, flowing and earnest.