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The Vessel by Broadway Project

Daniel Berridge and selected musical pals, under the moniker Broadway Project, are the source for the album cryptically titled The Vessel. At first glance, the packaging art has a little of that 60’s hippie feel, though it’s more of a Lord of the Rings mysterious than a daisies in the hair vibe.

I’m picturing Daniel Berridge in grammar school. He’s sitting in the back of the class scribbling a picture of Frodo on his history book and imagining the music he’ll make when he gets facial hair or at least the long curly hair I expect he’s grown at this point. That music he had in mind has got to be lots like the Enya meets Gollum while cavorting with vampires sounds he conjures in his latest outing as Broadway Project. Aptly titled The Vessel, Berridge and buddies work up a Goth tinged Eastern mood piece that would have set young Danny Berridge a twitter.

The album has a strong non-Western tinge, all dark exotic. Tribal drums and black hued rock make up the bulk of the sounds. A touch of Dub (maybe more than a touch, this guy never met an echo he did not like) and a few Pink Floydish flourishes round things out. Berridge’s vocals remind this humble listener a bit of a mellower Axel Rose, an Axel a bit depressed and minus those annoying vocal tics. Lyrically, there’s much melancholy to be had. Berridge does not shop at Hallmark, I’ll wager.

Though there’s rumored to be Jazz in the mix, these ears did not hear it. This is an album that would fit snuggly in any 60’s survivors record collection, betwixt Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. Though not completely conventional, it ain’t Avant Garde either. The point seems to be establishing a mood, possibly a cinematic one, not improvisation or necessarily musical exploration.

In sum, this is an album more geared toward the rock end of the audience. Some may find it’s exoticism a bit forced, a little shopworn too. I suspect the more jaded listener will accuse Mr. Berridge and company of owning too many Bill Laswell albums. To heck with them. I suspect Berridge achieved the sort of music he set out to make. They made an album the young Berridge in all of us was waiting to hear.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Broadway Project
  • CD Title: The Vessel
  • Genre: World Music
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: DCR
  • Rating: Three Stars
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