When an international class drummer (Mark Knoffler, Sting, Squeeze et al), who learned his trade playing prog and punk in equal measure, enters into a musical marriage with a remarkably voiced traditional folk singer (and artist model), then the musical outcome is likely to be something a little out of the ordinary. Add to the fact that the said drummer is a skilled multi-instrumentalist and producer whose influences are almost too wide and varied to contain, and that the said folk vocalist is also a prolific songwriter with a penchant for stomping on electric guitar pedals, then, well, the outcome could be something quite different and refreshing indeed!. And so it all proves as 'Bruise' - aka Jim Kimbereley and Isobel Morris - have come up with a record which is best heard rather than merely described. Richly textured guitars, synths and, at times, various unidentifiable instruments, all provide a mosaic backdrop to Morris's signature voice and signature song writing. If Isobel is the architect who draws up the plans, it seemingly Kimberley who fills in the precise sketches with bold colour and tone. Mainstream friendly songs like 'Northern Line' rub along happily with more eclectic numbers like the moving expressionism of 'Emily', the darker complexity of 'Little Victories' and to the brooding, Eastern flavoured, almost Zeppelinesque ‘Blue Line’. Collectively it all works rather well. In some ways, Bruise sit uncomfortably with our modern, disposable world. This is a record of real depth and quality; something to be explored not just skimmed, where, like the best of our old vinyl collections, the whole is somehow greater than the sum of the parts which reveals more with every listening. 'Bruise' are clearly two musical (and personal?) mavericks whose rich blend of art house folk-rock proves that it is possible to still make a highly distinctive, original and satisfying record, even now, 50 years into the modern pop and rock business. Check this record out, it's well worth the investment.
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