Roddan: “Bleed 432” stands as an impressive document of a journey through emotional storms
“Bleed 432” is Roddan’s follow-up EP to his 2016 debut release of “Music House”. This sophomore EP from the American singer-songwriter from Seattle consists of 6 new original tracks, and features musicians, Scott Roddan (guitar/vocals), Phoebe Hunt (fiddle/vocals), Gina Chavez (vocals), Michael Ramos (Keys), Phil Bass (percussion/vocals), and Rick Del Castillo (guitar/bass/keys/vocals). It’s never easy for a songwriter to follow up their first well received album with something other than a disappointment. To put it another way, average artists seem largely incapable of this, and great artists can do it — but not always. With the release of “Bleed 432”, Roddan has clearly identified himself as a songwriter with staying power.
“Bleed 432” is an attractive core combination of guitar, piano, bass, drums, interesting lyrics and soothing vocals. Nothing transcendental, but stunningly engaging. The reason being that Roddan lets the music belong to the songs, and not the other way around.
Roddan has the thematic range of a contemplative and visionary artist. Here he takes an observant stroll through intimate human experiences and emotion. There is so much insight, intelligence, and passion in the songs that Roddan’s use of references seems like an opening rather than a closing of mind.
From the opening, bittersweet “Never Meant To Be”, to the playful closer, “Rock My Reggae Bone”, Roddan’s writing and song selection are truly gratifying. Throughout the album the Seattle native creates an airy atmosphere—beautifully spontaneous and bright – despite the disillusioned, and sometimes painful narratives. The sound throughout the album is clear and vibrant, particularly in “Exit 38” and “Bleed Ft. Gina Chavez”, about a tormented romance, in which voice and instrumentation are precisely delineated and warm, juxtaposed by the lament of the fiddle.
“Patty Jean – Tribute To Patty Griffin” is an appreciation and an ode to the accomplished performer and songwriter, Patricia Jean “Patty” Griffin. “Love Horses” let’s Roddan’s poignant storytelling and poetic sensibilities render and define his big-hearted sentimentalism.
Roddan doesn’t waste words, and when he does give himself over to emotion, it’s usually in an honest fashion. Granted, he has songs about tortured loves and people on the bad side of decisions, but to listen to him sing most of these songs is to hear joy in the creation of a song, of bringing something from nothing. That ‘nothing’ though, sounds like it comes from real, concrete experiences and memories. In Roddan’s case, his demons and ghosts have apparently flooded him with songs.
The lyrical journey on “Bleed 432” is the important thing, and some of the best—and most personal—lyrics Roddan has penned. There’s craft here in the way he revisits themes and images from song to song, and he has never sounded more at ease, as he unloads he thoughts and feelings.
The EP is so unassuming at times though, that it’s easy to underestimate its power. Taken as a whole, the recording stands as an impressive document of Roddan’s journey through a few emotional storms.