Kerrang (Magazine) - p.53
"Not only is UNITED WE STAND a triumph, it's a thrilling love letter to nearly 30 years of alt-rock."
Q (Magazine) - p.953 stars out of 5
-- "Their star remains burly, bearded lead singer Shawn Smith, whose blue-eyed soul voice is a charming contrast to Gossard's downtuned riffing."
Audio Mixer: Floyd Reitsma.
Photographer: Daniel Zetterstrom.
With their fifth studio album, United We Stand, Brad have been a band for almost 20 years. Living in the shadow of guitar player Stone Gossard's other band Pearl Jam for the entirety of their existence, it's impossible to extract Brad from their associations to one of the foundational forces of grunge. The ten songs on United We Stand fall somewhere between the sound of incomplete Pearl Jam demos and lazy jam band pop. A ramshackle live-in-the-studio production is apparent throughout the album. Songs like "A Reason to Be in My Skin" and "Miles of Rope" sound more organic than produced. The creaky Americana-leaning "Make the Pain Go Away" sounds off-the-cuff as well, with buried cellos peeking out sheepishly from behind vocalist Shawn Smith's husky ramble. From the unfinished murk of their debut to their long-shelved 2010 full-length Best Friends?, Brad have embraced the "warts-and-all" mentality of leaving in the mistakes in favor of a more visceral live sound. Like post-'90s Pearl Jam, the band has a dedicated following and long-term fans will probably find much to enjoy on United We Stand. ~ Fred Thomas