Elemental Evolution is the debut EP by American alternative rock artist D. S. Bradford. The seven-track collection of songs is a concept album, focused on Bradford's personal story, as well as the broader idea of illustrating a world of peace and tolerance for humanity. Recording took place between the years 2015 and 2016 at Equinox By Fireside Music in Horsham, Pennsylvania, with the exception of the original recording of "Oceans", which occurred between 2012 and 2014. Subsequently, the lead single was re-recorded to match the production value of the EP. The album was released and distributed by Sony Music and Sugo Music Group.
All lyrics written by D. S. Bradford; all music composed by D. S. Bradford.
Just after the release of the single, and title track, Elemental Evolution EP was described by Bradford during an interview with The Revue as an introspective examination of the world at large and how humanity would survive if the trends of violence and intolerance towards one another were reversed and eliminated. Bradford further elaborated during an interview with Lehigh Valley Underground that the EP is a collection of songs that examine the human condition with acute focus on living in harmony in the turbulent reality with which citizens are faced. He alluded that the battles between societal differences and the intolerance and racism in politics and society, with a vision of successful means of finding peace in a world with no borders were inspirations for the lyrics and meaning behind Elemental Evolution.
Upon the release, Bradford provided a detailed account of the writing process and stories behind the tracks as part of a feature in Music Junkie Press. The EP is bookended by "A Call To The Stars I: Ascend The Lost" and the closer, "A Call To The Stars II: A Home In The Sky". Part one is the introduction to the entire saga as seen through the eyes of Bradford as he recounts moments in his personal life that aligned with the feeling of hopelessness as he watches the torment and negativity in the world. The EP unfolds more as a progressive rock opera, or a mini-album, with all of the songs blending into one another, creating movements cohesively, with distinct songs marking each chapter within the album.
Bradford, also an illustrator and having drawn the covers for his first two singles, created the cover art to convey the sense of self being in touch with nature. Several elements can be seen within the cover art, which is a surreal self-portrait.
Elemental Evolution was released to mostly positive reviews. Face The Noise debuted an exclusive stream on their website on August 4, 2016. In a review in advance of the release date, Gerard Longo of Lehigh Valley Underground gave praise to Bradford's musicality and diverse use of his songwriting and composition knowledge, stating Bradford is,
Shelagh Dolan of Indie Band Guru furthered the consensus of Bradford's versatility, labeling it a "daring debut" and comparing the guitar work on the track "Oceans" to Coheed and Cambria and Blink 182. She also stated that "The Seasons", a predominantly instrumental track, with its
Dolan concludes in her review that, although this was no conventional debut, "Bradford sticks the landing with confidence."
Mari Richardson of Music Junkie Press, in addition to publishing a track-by-track breakdown of the release, focused on the positivity of the story behind Elemental Evolution and the need for the kind of sentiment that Bradford communicates throughout the songs.
Rachel Freitas of Music Existence ranked the EP 4.5/5-stars, highlighting the "genius of Bradford" can be found in such tracks as "The Rise", a short piano interlude. She later summed up the review, focusing in detail on "A Call To The Stars II: A Home In The Sky"
Freitas also stated that some songs didn't work as well as others, but overall the effort was an enjoyable listen.
Before the release of the EP, the title track was regarded as a highly accessible and radio-friendly track. Jonathan Frahm of PopMatters stated,
Primary musiciansD. S. Bradford: Vocals, lead and rhythm guitars, bass, drums, keyboards
ProductionRecorded, mixed, and engineered by D. S. Bradford
Mastered by Lurssen Mastering