Throughout the course of this year, I’ve written quite a bit about the Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Gena Rose Bruce. Bruce’s highly-anticipated, Tim Harvey-produced full-length debut Can’t Make You Love Me was released yesterday through Dot Dash Records, and the album which took three years to write and record features a notable guest spot from acclaimed multi-instrumentalist Jade Imagine, who plays bass and guitar on the album.
The album’s first two singles “Coming Down” and “The Way You Make Love” were released independently last year but as you may recall, the album’s fourth single “Rearview” was the second single that Dot Dash has released this year, and the track was centered by a sparse arrangement of atmospheric synths, shimmering guitars, propulsive and pulsating drumming and a smoldering vocal performance, imbued with longing. And while bearing an uncanny resemblance to Mazzy Star and JOVM mainstays Still Corners, the song as Bruce explained in press notes “is a conversation I could never have with this person, it’s about accepting failed love. I was angry at the time but I didn’t have the energy to stay angry or feel sorry for myself.”
The album’s fifth single, was the slow-burning, “I Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You” featured one of the more sparse, atmospheric arrangements of the entire album — shimmering and jangling guitar lines, a simple yet propulsive rhythm second paired with a breathy and achingly vulnerable vocal performance by Bruce. Unsurprisingly, the song manages to evoke someone haunted by the lingering memories and ghosts of a lover that they can’t seem to let go. And in some way, the song’s narrator acknowledges that maybe they don’t want to get over this relationship either.
“Angel Face,” the album’s lasted single is a slow-burning and atmospheric track centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, Bruce’s plaintive and achingly tender vocals and a soaring hook — and while bearing a subtle resemblance to Stevie Nicks “Stand Back,” and Still Corners, the song further cements Bruce’s growing reputation for crafting swooning, earnest pop.
Directed by Alex Badham, the recently released video for “Angel Face” possesses a dream-like in which we see Bruce standing in various locales holding a bullhorn — at various points, she’s seen talking into the bullhorn, while at other points she holds it a aloft. As the video progresses, it begins to have a surreal and dream-like beauty with Bruce standing in increasingly serene settings. The video ends with Bruce kicking the bullhorn in frustration.