24 Mar 2016

Gabriel Bruce / Freedom (single review)

You might remember last week we ran a massive feature on London's premier "disco Leonard Cohen" with regards to his comeback. After laying dormant for a few years (following a pretty dark time), he released his first song, Metal Soul last week. It seemed to showcase Bruce at his darkest, most forlorn, eminating a deep sadness that was only really brushed on over his brilliant 2013 debut Love In Arms. It was described upon release by Bruce as a red herring, something not representative of the rest of the album, so left us intrigued for whatever the man would put out next.

Yesterday, Bruce uploaded the song Freedom, which is the second cut from his sophomore album Come All Sufferers, and if this is representative of the bulk of his new material then gosh, we're in for a special album. The first thing you hear is a jumped up retro sounding drum machine, like the one that opens up Dark Lights Shine Loud from his debut. But what follows is such a sonic treat, seeing Bruce belt out a new career high in terms of vocal performance accompanied by a ferocious Black Skinhead type momentous clap-like percussion. He sounds like Nick Cave, twitching with his deep gothic baritone, which is complimented amazingly by some righteous sounding backing vocals, potentially from the Dickensian backing singers he notoriously toured with back in the day. His voice absolutely incredible, it's genuinely the best in the business, something that can't escape your mind throughout the duration of the song. He's at his best and completely unstoppable, "fuck your atmosphere, I don't care if I'm going to hell" the Londoner belts out - he's uncompromising, and he's seemingly now sonically invincible.

The instrumentation to the song is glorious - if I had to pigeonhole it into a genre it'd be goth-disco. It's got a dark feel to it, but it's so instantly danceable, and you can imagine it being incredible live. Drum machines work with organs and trumpets and guitars, creating a sound firmly within the realms of dark, danceable pop music for most the duration, before it's escalated into transcendent, timeless euphoria with an oscillating synth sound. It's ambitious, but it's ultimately one of the most accomplished, most swaggering, most essential records to come out this year. If, like me, you loved Gabe's first record, his return prompted the question: "has he still got it?"


This proves he certainly still has it. He's back with a fucking vengeance, he's been out the game a bit, and his return is already looking to be seriously exciting. Roll on Come All Sufferers.

(written by calum cashin)