Sound & Color
The Voice runner-up with the eyes – and indeed the aristocratic pedigree – of Princess Diana has plenty of preconceptions to overcome.
Considering the dispiriting fate of Voice winner Leanne Mitchell, Bruce must count herself lucky to have any chance at all, but this debut album has enough sparkle to suggest the investment's been worth it. There's nothing exactly new about Before I Sleep, just a raft of decent songwriting and a strong central presence. Good enough for starters.
Bruce has had help from Snow Patrol's Johnny McDaid and Athlete's Joel Pott, and the kind of solid pop-rock peddled by those stalwarts looms large in the flowing choruses of Golden and The Hands I Hold, and the twinkly guitars of Echoes and Telescope. But there's more to Bruce than Coldplay knock-offs, and real personality emerges over the cracking hooks of Landslide and Save Me, her voice sidelining the occasional Dolores O'Riordan-esque hiccup to send shivers up the spine.
She's at her most moving on closer How We're Made, letting her late mum know how much she misses her over warming Hammond organ and heartbeat drums. It's a sombre end to an emotional record, but Bruce – if she can defy those reality show odds – can look forward to brighter days.