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Album Review: Gena Rose Bruce - Can't Make You Love Me

25 June 2019 | 9:10 am | Tim Kroenert

"A testament to collaboration and creativity as paths back from the mire."

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The narrative surrounding Gena Rose Bruce’s debut album has the singer holed up at Warrnambool, in south-west Victoria, writing songs following the demise of a toxic relationship. It’s perhaps inevitable there’d be a touch of emo to the results: “I’m headed to a road of destruction,” Bruce sings on Coming Down; on Rearview she’s “lost whatever it is I’m living for”; Angel Face invites the album’s eponymous “you” to “tear my heart... watch it bleed”. 

But the album is also, implicitly, a testament to collaboration and creativity as paths back from the mire. Musician Jade Imagine helps elevate several tracks above the level of dirge; note the spangly guitars and pops of bass that answer The Way You Make Love’s dark, obsessive lust. And producer Tim Harvey (Lisa Mitchell) leaves space for the vulnerability and warmth of Bruce’s vocals to flourish. As a result, there’s more self-reflection than self-obsession to tracks like the woozy Revive and the melancholic I Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You

Indeed by the time the album enters its final phase, things are looking up, as the righteous dignity and Be My Baby beat of I Can’t Be That Easy  culminates in the defining insight: “You’re not worth any more of my time.”