Gabriel Bruce's first album drew comparisons to Bruce Springsteen, his laments on love and death seemed full of potential if not a little immature. His new album Come All Sufferers comes from a real place of pain and resurrects Bruce as a lyricist and storyteller of biblical proportions.

Come All Sufferers by Gabriel Bruce

4 Stars Gabriel Bruce

Gabriel Bruce Come All Sufferers
 

Come All Sufferers broods with the intensity of Nick Cave and the low-pitched energy of Iggy Pop. Gabriel Bruce’s lyrics are rich in visual imagery, combining the biblical with modern-day culture, and seething with betrayed love and melancholy.

But why all the negativity? After a tough break-up it's clear that Bruce entered into a downward spiral, then he also managed to badly injure his hand resulting in a gap between his debut album Love in Arms (2013), and his follow-up. That's a lot of pent-up energy and emotion ready to be unleashed. As cliched as it might sound, Bruce channeled his pain into this record and in doing so elevates his suffering to some kind of martyrdom.  
 

 

 

As much as this is a break-up album and about the devastation in its wake, it’s also about trying to find acceptance, and returning to a place of comfort—so it isn’t all doom and gloom. And there's no doubt that Bruce is at his most comfortable when delivering his lyrics; lifting up and healing fellow sufferers as melody and pace builds, and certain songs become almost anthemic ("Come All Sufferers", "Hold Me Close, Holy Ghost"). 

Much like the Angel Gabriel's horn was used as a call to followers, this album is Gabriel's call to sufferers to lament and overcome together. To Bruce's call: 'Come on sufferers here' backing vocal respond: 'We're going to rise up'. But as soon as that is offered, he slips into the lament of "Metal Soul" ('It ain't no fun at all making love to your metal soul') followed by "This Human Mess", a hymn-like song that sits like a photograph of two people at dusk, as one of them (Bruce) tries to hang onto a fleeting moment.

The music manages to find plenty of uplifting spaces. Whether it's the organs of "This Human Mess" or the filthy bass of "Jesus Drag Queen", Come All Sufferers positions itself somewhere between Eighties’ dance beats and droning goth, resulting in a sort of dirty disco-goth vibe.

The end result is a classic bare-all record that moves through anger, excitement, acceptance, relapses and healing. Bruce is the modern day preacher of pain, suffering, and love—a hole that has been missing in music since Nick Cave focussed his energies into Grinderman and movie soundtracks. But there are two key differences. Bruce does not enter those particularly dark places that Cave dwells in, so it's easier to find optimism. Musically speaking, the two sit far apart, Bruce's retro-cool sound brings his music right up to date, but his intensity sets him apart from his contemporaries.

 

Key tracks: “Metal Soul”, “Gates of Babylon”, “Hold Me Close, Holy Ghost”

Like this? You may also like: John Maus, Kindness, Lou Reed

 

 

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