Bruce Soord / Luminescence, A Majestic Journey Of Inner Peace And Hope

I’ve been a fan of Bruce Soord for many years. His work with The Pineapple Thief is amongst the most majestic and uplifting progressive rock that has come out of the UK in the past couple of decades. His previous solo album, All This Will Be Yours, was incredibly enjoyable, providing that delicate blend of introspective thought and gentle musicianship, which he appears to deliver with an ease that is beyond my comprehension.

Bruce Soord – Luminescence (KScope)

Release Date: 22 September 2023

Words: Paul Hutchings

His third album, Luminescence, has been in progress for some time. It’s taken two years to record, spread from January 2021 through to June 2023. It’s unsurprising, given the day job with The Pineapple Thief and their most recent releases, Give it Back (2022), and the recent box set release How Did We Find Our Way Here.

Luminescence is inspired by the idea of finding inner peace. Soord explores the difficulties of living in the modern world, something that many artists are grappling with as subject matter.

Bruce Soord – Luminescence album cover
Bruce Soord – Luminescence. Another stellar release from one of the rock world’s most gifted performers.

It’s evident that reflections on the fast pace of life, especially whilst on tour, and the constant challenges are something that influences the writing and thoughts. Here, Soord has included recordings from his explorations of various cities whilst on tour. It adds an interesting dimension to an album beautifully composed and constructed.

I read a review of All This Will Be Yours where the reviewer refused to give full marks due to the use of a drum machine. Whilst I understand that annoyance, it’s not something that bothers me in the slightest.

Soord’s use of said machine is limited throughout, with his imperious acoustic guitar taking centre stage for most of the tracks here. Of course, as a multi-instrumentalist who creates the entire album as well as producing it, he has every right to use whatever means necessary to achieve his art. He’s also brought in Andrew Skeet of The Divine Comedy to assist on strings.

So, moving past the fickleness, what does Luminescence bring to the party? Well, the answer is 12 tracks of mellow perfection. An album that would work on a warm summer evening or in front of a roaring log fire on a cold winter’s night, it’s uplifting, heartening, and relaxing.

Dear Life is the ideal opener. Soord’s sense of melancholy may sound miserable, yet there is also hope in the messages he paints. Don’t wish your life to end – don’t let it pass you by, he laments. “Don’t wish that it will all be over, in the sweetest blink of an eye,” he sings.

It’s poignant, especially as life throws trials and tribulations at us. Soord reflected his views in an online comment recently. “As my life, in particular, starts to age, it was an easy subject to relate to. It’s actually sung from the perspective of an elderly parent, on their death bed, to their child.”

Although his songs may sound simplistic, listening to Lie Flat reveals an intricacy that may not be immediately evident. The contrast of the strings against Soord’s acoustic guitar works well on Olomouc, presenting the imagery of a stillness deliberately intended.

The journey continues through the songs, the gentle hum on Never Ending Light, and the semi-electronica feel to Nestle In and Rushing, providing welcome contrasts. All the while, Soord’s magical vocal delivery haunts with every word delivered. His crystal clean tones work majestically, connecting with the listener yet not at any time detracting from the overall compositions.

He finishes the album strongly with the lovely Stranded Here, penultimate song Read To Me, and finale Find Peace, complete with light aircraft buzz, bringing this exceptional album to a gentle and patient conclusion in his own inimitable style.

Soord has also kept it short. Most songs are around the three-minute mark, and whilst I’m happy to listen to much longer songs (I’m a huge Opeth fan, for example), the compactness of what is on offer on Luminescence is attractive.

It’s also inviting, and I’ve had many listens since receiving the review link. A perfect production helps massively, but one would expect nothing less from Soord.

It’s another stellar release from one of the rock world’s most gifted performers.

Luminescence is available to pre-order from BruceSoord.lnk.to/Luminescence.

Sleeve Notes

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