Originally published on Hooting & Howling


After a year of floating around and pushing the release date back, Gabriel Bruce’s debut album, ‘Love In Arms‘ has been released, and it’s really rather good. From the off, the album is bursting at the seams with the cries of ‘Dark Lights Shine Loud‘ and ‘Honey Honey Honey‘ both creating the sheer ambience, and brilliance, of some kind of horn-fueled disco of the dead, not to mention the earth shaking roar of Gabriel’s vocals (even Nick Cave would sat in the corner, sobbing his heart out).

After you’ve been well and truly introduced to the world of Mr Bruce, the past makes a brief return in the form of ‘Sleep Paralysis‘. It’s hardly been altered since it’s single release back in November 2011, remaining with all the haunting force, dramatic Farfisa organ and that bone-rattling bassline, by the time the new synth line does come in you wont bat an eyelid anyway. However, the mourning doesn’t quite start there, as the dancing shoes are whipped out again for latest single ‘Greedy Little Heartit’s a preaching disco classic in it’s own right already; nobody else can come close to making organ pop sound this good. Then there’s the lovingly crafted ‘El Musgooverlaying a brief hint of lush euphoria with some deep, brooding baritone – it’s all very melodramatic, but in a completely ingenious way.

Zoe and ‘Car’s Not Leaving‘ are, without a doubt, Bruce at his finest, from the calypso growls to the spiralling synths, completed by the understated wit of Bruce’s lyrics – “there’s a church at the end of the path/where the sign reads beware of the god – has to be greatly admired, both are bona fide incredible and set to have you attempting some of those dance moves yourselves in no time at all. Enjoy it while it lasts, though, as ‘All That I Have‘ is a heart-wrencher, with romantic piano and vocal parts, cliche in concept but utterly acceptable in performance, it’s enough to quite easily bring out the tears, even before ‘If Only In Words‘ too hints at an electronic, Baroque-ballad spin-off.

Love In Arms‘ may’ve taken a while to actually get out there, but it is a highly impressive collection of songs that are more than worth the wait, and have well and truly established the brilliance this man effortlessly excels – if you’re looking for drama and dancing, within the hour, Gabriel Bruce proves to be more than qualified.