Bob Berdanier - Smoke EP - Stereo Stickman

Bob Berdanier Smoke EP


Guitarist and singer Bob Berdanier intertwines the energy and passion of live rock with a fearlessly personal twist of intimate songwriter reflections, for the intoxicating and boldly beautiful EP Smoke.

Known for his role within the Abu Dhabi rock band Exit Strategy, Berdanier steps away from the band format to deliver this uniquely poetic exploration of nostalgia and the search for connection. As an introduction to that journey, the title-track Smoke proves both uplifting and poignant in rising up from the ashes.

We begin with simple piano and vocal pairing, the raspy intricacies of Bob’s voice expressive and easy to listen to. We then move slowly but confidently towards the soulfully explosive rock sound of the latter half, and all the while this soft-rock or mellow metal melody resounds and repeats – an anthem in the making, emotively looping its way into our subconscious.

Great songwriting meets with great production for the Smoke EP, a quality that allows versatile and impassioned performances to connect in a timeless fashion. Consider the shift to a more upbeat and hopeful, inspiring and metaphorical Drive – a country or pop-rock hook redirecting things but the sound remaining well-rooted amidst the now recognizable Bob Berdanier voice in both structure and tone.

Stripped-back piano and reverb-kissed vocals return to guide us into Your Ghost. Berdanier often juxtaposes distorted electric guitars with delicate keys and nearly whispered sentiments – a contrast that allows the heavier moments to really hit with impact. Your Ghost is far more subtle in presentation, but again the production allows the humble evolution to create an increasingly heartfelt depth.

Next we shift back to the positive energy – arrangement matters, and Smoke toys with the heartstrings then follows that with a mighty boost of optimism and brightness. Next Time Around is a colourful pop-rock anthem, with a retro chord pattern and short, slick lines – it employs a call-and-response theatrical trait that’s naturally familiar.

Tell Me You Love Me is a personal highlight, that 90’s soft-rock guitar riff and the simplicity of the repeating verse line meets with the rising energy of the song to quickly embrace the listener with the escapism of the sound. It’s a memorable tune, perhaps the strongest ear-worm of the Smoke EP, and there’s a mild dash of 3 Doors Down to the set-up that will prove smoothly enchanting for the long-time rock fan.

Wrapping things up is another comforting switch to possibility and warmth. Connected To You celebrates the classic pop format but maintains that organic rock edge and in the process delivers an appreciative ode to love and a significant other. It’s one last display of fine songwriting and musicianship, and the diversity of Bob’s voice shines brightly yet again – the precision and expressive fluidity of his guitar solo adding an equally unmistakable aspect.

Smoke in its entirety feels something like a slept-on EP from a simpler time, remastered and cleaned up for clarity and volume. Think Bruce Springsteen on occasion, then nineties harder rock laid bare and acoustic at other times. An eclectic mix and superb songwriting forever at the wheel.

Find Bob Berdanier on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok & his Website.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

One response to “Bob Berdanier – Smoke EP

  1. Wow, I just heard of you through Stereo Stickman and decided to give a listen…

    “Smoke” is a wonderfully gritty and anthemic pop rock ballad. Emotive, nostalgic and catchy… The video for it on YouTube is also an A-grade production!!!

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