Home Greta Bradman ABC Classics After her acclaimed first album, My Hero, almost three years ago, Greta Bradman returns with an affecting collection of adored music. Every listener will share some of her memories expressed here: songs sung and passed down by grandparents, in church choirs or through favourite radio programs. It is hard to avoid shedding a tear of recognition listening to Home Sweet Home, with Suzanne Handel’s transporting harp accompaniment, or to the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria with an exquisite violin solo from Natsuko Yoshimoto. Bradman’s home city figures prominently: throughout, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Luke Dollman, provides a refined if somewhat muted backdrop. Several of the arrangements are by arch-orchestrator Richard Mills. The Adelaide Chamber Singers — the ensemble with whom Bradman gave some of her earliest performances — figure modestly but graciously. Less so the presence of St Peter’s Cathedral, where the 21 tracks on this album were recorded in May 2014. If anything, the generous acoustic of the lofty cathedral yields a diffuse sound, which the recording barely manages to tame. One wonders if this is a new golden age of singing in Australia, In recent months Bradman, Nicole Car and Lorina Gore have released wonderful albums, largely of operatic arias. While Bradman professes to have many more songs she would like to record, some of her fans might wish to see her step further afield into contemporary classical pieces or songs from the great shows. The range of music on this album shows she is capable of turning her mind and voice to virtually anything. Bordering on downtempo, and jazzy in parts, Cerebral Hemispheres is an album to sink into slowly. There are few peak-time tunes here but Heard’s focus on emotive vocals, live instrumentation and polished production make it an immersive and rewarding listen.
First single and album opener Full Moon sets the scene as a signature rolling bassline combines with meandering beats, a soulful vocal, eerie keys and saxophone. On Sands of Aruba, Heard melds lush live percussion with saxophone and keys. A Day in Portugal is almost Balearic, both atmospheric and dreamy. Electron is sinister, built around an urgent synth line and percussion, while the pounding late-night daze of Inner Acid makes for an album standout. Nicole Wray closes proceedings with a warm, R&B-inspired vocal on Praise to the Vibes. There are so many grooves here, of varying tempos, that demonstrate the versatility of the house genre and the continuing relevance of one of its creators.