Young love can make for an intoxicating musical expression if done right, and up-and-coming sultry songstress Gena Rose Bruce has done love pretty good.

22-year-old Bruce and her equally young and talented band recently headed in to the studio with ARIA nominated producer Steven Schram (San Cisco, Eagle and the Worm, Clairy Browne) to record four tracks live and loud, all of which make up the sophomore EP Mad Love.

Bruce’s musical journey really began back in 2013. After winning the Telstra Road to Discovery award and dropping her 5-track debut Wild One Babe late that year, Bruce began writing and touring steadily.

She’s supported the likes of Ella Hooper, Daryl Braithwaite and The Pierce Brothers on their prospective national tours, and in 2014, was runner up in the Americana category of the prestigious Unsigned Only international songwriting competition with her original track ‘Jackson’.

With a voice eerie similar to Katy Steele’s (Little Birdy), the first track to be lifted from the new EP, ‘Good Thing’, is a mesmerising, soft rock number. Bruce’s sensual vocals coo and brood over a bluesy guitar riff as she contemplates the intensity of her besotted state.

Oozing both naivety and sex-appeal simultaneously in her lyrics and delivery, the later is conjured up the most in ‘Call Girl’. It’s exactly what it says on the tin – a seductive slow-burner ode to being a lady of the night. It’s a dark, indie-pop stunner, with Bruce’s smoky-to-silky voice simmering over with a dirty blues riff.  The guitar riff and lead solo of this track truly shines and steals the limelight away from Bruce’s libido-driven, lyrical motives (which are not completely convincing in this outing).

‘Smooth’ is another dark and dreamy exploration. Bruce sings with the prowess of a maturer artist, underscoring her moody vocals with slick and well thought out instrumentation. It’s another dip in the sex-romp pool here too, with Bruce whispering “Honey you look so tired we’ve making love all night, aren’t you glad you had a lie in my bed.”

Closer and EP title ‘Mad Love’. This song in particular evokes a huge nod to American singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey, who shares the same lovesick blues obsession. The line “you say you want your baby’s bad” reminds one instantly of Del Rey’s ‘Video Games‘ when she coos “I heard that you like the bad girls honey, is that true?”, and once the similarity is spotted, it can become a bit of an earworm.

Dreamy alt-pop is growing in its presence at the moment, and Gena Rose Bruce is at the forefront locally. Combining sultry with swagger – musically and vocally – Mad Love is rich in immersive and ballsy balladry. Part rueful part raunchy, Bruce is a young talent with plenty to say and hopefully plenty of people to say it to.

7/10

Mad Love is out July 24th.

GENA ROSE BRUCE ‘MAD LOVE’ EP LAUNCH DATES:

Friday 24th July
The Workers Club, Melbourne
Tickets here

Friday 31st July
Brighton Up Bar, Sydney
Tickets here

For more details, head to: www.facebook.com/GenaBruceMusic

And check out Speaker TV’s interview with Gena late last year here