James Dean Bradfield: Even In Exile (MontyRay) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020  

James Dean Bradfield

Even In Exile


Aug 12, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

It’s been 14 years since James Dean Bradfield’s solo debut The Great Western. Nevertheless, his long-awaited follow-up is well worth the wait.

Entitled Even In Exile, it documents the life of Chilean singer/songwriter, poet, and political activist Victor Jara who was brutally murdered in 1973. Fusing Bradfield’s widescreen musical vision with a series of words written by acclaimed Welsh poet Patrick Jones. Even In Exile takes the listener on a journey through an eclectic soundscape that references David Sylvain and Rush among others as well as more familiar territories ploughed in Bradfield’s day job as singer and guitarist with Manic Street Preachers.

Having initially started working on the project at the start of 2019, Even In Exile came together over the course of the last year. Bradfield was inspired by The Clash’s “Washington Bullets” (which was about Jara) and Simple Minds’ Street Fighting Years, which was dedicate to Jara some 31 years ago. Bradfield set about constructing a record that would both raise awareness of Jara’s legacy while doing his subject the justice he deserves. For instance, “La Partida” off Jara’s sixth long player El Derecho De Vivir En Paz is covered exquisitely. Bradfield’s distinctive and affected tone adding a touch of poignancy.

Elsewhere, Even In Exile features subtle acoustic ballads such as “There’ll Come a War,” whereas closer “Santiago Sunrise” provides defiant yet somber laments (“You’ll never cross the river if you’re scared of getting wet” sings Bradfield on the latter). While remaining upbeat on the biographical “The Boy From the Plantation” and even rocking out on “Without Knowing the End (Joan’s Song),” Even In Exile revels in its optimism that anything is possible if you’re prepared to fight for it.

Even In Exile is anything but a stop gap between Manic Street Preachers records. Building impeccably upon the foundations laid by its successor back in 2006, Even In Exile is an album that fully illustrates Bradfield’s stature as a solo artist of some repute. (www.manicstreetpreachers.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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