Brad Pretty on Bridges: “The Best Heavy Band in Town”

Their music has become refined over time, while exhibiting a steady ethos at its core.

5 years. In a scene fueled by new collaborations, incestuous projects, and shifting tastes, it’s rare for a single band to last that long. Bridges, on the other hand, have spent that time toiling away as a singular unit.

They’ve collectively adapted throughout these years as a team, staying consistent but reflexive and innovative within their own structure. Through the ebbs and flows of the heavy music scene in St. John’s, they’ve grown to become one of its most respected and versatile bands.

Their music has become refined over time, while exhibiting a steady ethos at its core. Bridging practically every sub-genre north of punk rock, the four members have become masters of an autonomous arsenal of noise that effortlessly transposes their trademarked abrasiveness into varied sonic scenarios. Everything they do is startlingly complex, but never devoid of earnestness.

There’s real wizardry at hand. Bassist Jonathan Mercer and drummer Bob Tuck smoothly navigate perplexing and intricate shifts in both pace and groove with precision. They are the canvas on which a broad swath of colours will be used.

Guitarist Steve Woodman is an under-appreciated guru, and one of the most unique composers and players in this city. From his massive array of stompboxes, he routinely maneuvers through biting fuzzes and drives and into lush soundscapes and David Gilmour-esque runs. In a city filled with innovative noise practitioners, he’s quietly (or ear-splittingly loudly) become one of the best.

Frontman Brendon Phillips is an enigma. Live, he’s an actor who never breaks character on stage, who somehow treads dutifully between being engaging, mysterious, and entertaining. His delivery consists of a toolbox of crisp cries, woeful lamentations, and sordid screams. While often hidden beneath all the noise, he also has a penchant for writing some of the most poetic and stark lyrics in St. John’s.

Despite 2 Eps and a full length, it took Bridges 5 years to come out of the shadow of being purely critical darlings and cult heroes. 2015, while being bereft of new releases by the band, was the year they really caught the attention of those beyond the heavy St. John’s music scene. They’re currently finishing up writing their second full length album, the songs of which have made up most of their recent live performances.

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