When the opening line to the first song (‘Oh Well, Anyway’) of an EP is as bitter as “you got what you wanted”, it’s safe to say that the tone is being set for the following songs. John Bradley, drummer and singer for cult emo kingpins Dads, has released an EP of his solo offerings under the guise of Cardinal Cardinal. Distant Lover completely contrasts Dads’ brash Pretty Good EP with smooth sailing melodies and delicate acoustic guitars. The EP is definitely one that will go beyond Bradley’s fans from Dads.
‘Oh Well, Anyway’ opens this EP like a familiar friend that has been out of contact for years. The lyrics on this song in particular reassess an old relationship between two people and although it feels like Bradley really envies the settled down life like his subject has when he delicately sings “you’re home and I don’t know what home is” in the chorus, he later turns around and quips “when you get what you want, well you just want more”.
‘When I’m Not Alone’ is an incredibly cohesive track. From the instrumentation, to vocals and lyrics, everything seems to work perfectly together. A specific highlight of not just the song, but the entire EP, is when this track has a sudden change of pace that goes from slow head-nodding to rapid foot-tapping. The song is also immensely relatable in a number of ways, from the lyrics to the pace changing echoing real life. “At least we’ll be miserable together” The admission of being unhappy with aspects of life but finding someone to share in that with seems to drive the song and up it’s relatability factor. I don’t know something something dark side
The EP closes out (far too quickly) with ‘The Distance’, which is also the shortest track. The upbeat music is a positively cheery dichotomy to the maudlin lyrics yet the song encapsulates the feeling of warmer weather that’s definitely on it’s way. The way the song ends with a wheedling “cause you promised we would have each other” leaves it open for both interpretation and a follow up track. The song is one of the personal highlights of the EP which makes the fact that it’s so short a little sad. But hey, just start the whole thing over again!
Distant Lover showcases an unexpected softer side to Bradley, it’d be interesting to see in future how he develops this project and balances it alongside Dads.
Distant Lover is available to buy and stream now through 6131 Records bandcamp.