Saturday, June 12, 2021

Liam Bruce finds comfort in creativity with isolative EP, ‘Seven Kinds Of Lonely’

With roots in both the UK and the US, Liam Bruce is able to intertwine influences from both sides of the Atlantic on his endearing debut EP, ‘Seven Kinds Of Lonely’.  

The EP, which was written, recorded, and produced alone by Bruce during what many are calling the loneliest year in history, was made as a concept piece: the seven tracks describe seven different feelings of loneliness, with the songs taking you on a rollercoaster of emotions that for many will perfectly encapsulate the trials and tribulations of a year in isolation. 

The title track, ‘Seven Kinds Of Lonely’, acknowledges Bruce’s strong American connection, with its electric guitars and Americana-inspired vocals. Yet, the upbeat music is at odds with the lyrics, which see Bruce longing for a lover that has left him. “All I wanna do is take a ride with you” pines the singer as he fails to persuade her to return.  

Carnival horns and slide guitars burst the EP into life on the lustful ‘Amsterdam’. The track describes the loneliness often found hand-in-hand with boredom and the sexual desire this can lead to. “Bring your baggage and your cheap wine” swoons the singer, as he accepts an imperfect, incompatible, temporary love interest in favour of the sexual thirst he needs to quench. The track crescendos into a swell of horns and guitars, whilst the crooning American-influenced vocals are particularly at home in this sun-soaked alt-rock song. 

Bruce’s knack for catchy hooks can be found clearly on ‘Boys Don’t Cry’, telling evermore relevant tales of men bottling up their emotions with the metaphorical lyrics “Sons being lost to the sea”. The following track, ‘Last Summertime’ is equally sentimental that develops an even deeper meaning when you realise it was written during the summer of 2020. The bittersweet nostalgia will be particularly emotional for those who struggled with isolation, and once again shows Bruce’s ability to convey complex feelings of loss and loneliness through the beauty of music. 

‘That Black Dog’ is Bruce’s first tentative steps into experimenting with country music, featuring plucked guitar strings and a distant harmonica. The stripped-back take on depression finds the singer acknowledging “All that I know is falling down inside my world” yet the resolution offers a glimmer of hope as he proclaims “This will pass/We’ll be ok”. As we seem to be exiting ths 18-month period of isolation and reflection, Bruce’s affirmation that all will be well sits poignantly on the beautifully written ode to the devil of depression that all too often drags us down. 

The penultimate and longest track is the EP’s standout moment; ‘Porcelain Ghost’ initially starts as a soft piano ballad that describes the pain of losing someone you love. It’s ambiguous whether this be through death or the end of a relationship, but the lyrics “I’m not waiting for you but I can’t say goodbye” reflects the pain felt by those in either situation. The song eventually turns into a euphoric acceptance of grief as Bruce concedes “It’s time to say goodbye to my porcelain ghost”.

Closing out the EP is the sparse ‘The Canyon’, which sees the singer perform a simple, acoustic country song. The American influences return to the EP, and the lyrics provide vivid imagery of the Old West as our protagonist drives out of the city and “Elvis sings for a while”. The sparseness of the track is a perfect end to an introspective body of work that sees Bruce reflect on a time period that many will be unable to forget for all the wrong reasons. 

For a debut EP from an artist who admits to having little knowledge of production, ‘Seven Kinds Of Lonely’ is nothing short of a triumph for London-based Bruce, and leaves an undeniable mark on any that have struggled with loneliness throughout the pandemic.  

James Ogden 

Image: Seven Kinds Of Lonely Official EP Cover

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