A few weeks ago, an old friend of mine got in touch to introduce me to an artist called Bruno Rogers.
Now, I’ll be honest I’d never heard of Rogers before but as soon as I listened to his Nothing to Be Done EP, I knew he was an artist worth watching.
The 23-year-old based in Nottingham released his debut album, “Know Thyself“, on 5th March this year. After finding out that he had played a live session for BBC Introducing, I had to ask myself what all the hype was about.
Luckily, I was able to find out after getting an exclusive listen of the debut and so I’ve decided to do a mini breakdown of each song on the 11 track album.
The first track, aptly named “introduction“ is a nearly 2 minute ambient piece that sets the scene for this 11 track album and immediately makes me want to continue.
“Mind at Large“ is the second track on the album and where things really start to get going. The intro to this song provides summer vibes, jazz feels and has upbeat chill vibes (as weird as that might sound), which remind me of bands such as Cassia. I’m loving the lyrics to this song and when the chorus kicks in, everything blends together so well from the melody to the guitars and the percussion in the background. One thing that’s very clear at this point, is that Rogers isn’t shying away from intricate guitar parts in this album.
We now move into the third song called “Like Nothing Ever Happened“, which is showing a more rocky side to Rogers. In this track, we can hear a solo that kicks, a catchier chorus - and you can tell this is where Bruno starts to really experiment with backing vocals. For me, the lyrics don’t hold up to that of “Mind at Large” and I feel like it could’ve been chopped down in places, although I’m not saying it’s one you should skip. Like the previous songs, the guitar licks (and just overall instrument work) are superb, fitting in with Rogers’ style perfectly.
We quickly move onto the fourth track called “Who Knows”. So far, this track has to be my favourite off the album and happens to be the shortest (outside of the introduction) at just over two minutes. Once again, and I can’t stress this enough, the guitar work is amazing, with this song even giving off Hawaiian vibes in places. It’s short and sweet but put simply, it’s one of my favourites from Rogers.
We slow things down in “Crystallise“ which immediately gives me Britpop vibes – specifically, Oasis. This has big “Champagne Supernova“ nods, whether they were intentional or not, particularly in the intro. The solo at the end of the song starts off as a softer affair but quickly makes its presence known and would arguably be the track’s talking point for me.
Things speed up slightly in “Deep Water“ however, it doesn’t shine compared to the previous tracks as it doesn’t bring anything new to the table for me personally. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a perfectly good tune, but it’s one of them where I feel like I’ve heard it before. Nevertheless, I will say that I’m really liking the solo and the added bubble effects, just to mix things up.
I share a similar sentiment in the next track “Trails“. The main thing that shines for me in this track is what sounds like a slide, (or a lap steel guitar maybe?) that comes in just the right amount. Once again, I’m getting Hawaiian vibes here but also mixed in with folk and country elements, which I’m all for.
“Who Will Come” unfortunately has to be my least favourite track off the album so far. With blues and country vibes, it is a perfectly well structured song but just doesn’t have enough energy for me.
“A different shade of blue” is the next song we enter which again I have to say doesn’t strike me as well as the albums first half. As this was the first single for Rogers’ debut, which only came out in February this year, I somehow feel that “mind at large“ would’ve been a more fitting option for the lead single.
We next move on to the longest song on the album “Baboon”. I feel like this song doesn’t necessarily know where it’s going but owns it massively. “Baboon” once again has blues vibes with big throwback nods to the 60s/70s likening artists like Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin with the standout being the extravagant guitar solo this song has to offer. That’s the main thing about this track, it gets the lyrics and vocals out the way first thing to make way for the fantastic guitar driven instrumental making it one of my top tracks off this album.
“Old Shoes” is the last song on the album and is like saying goodbye to someone you’ve known for years - sad, but grateful for the time you spent together. The piano on this track is an unexpected addition but certainly a welcome one. The lyrics seem to walk along the themes of nostalgia, growing up and regretfully falling back into your old ways.
The main theme that is explored here is getting to know yourself (hence the album name), which is a message Rogers is able to convey exquisitely throughout his debut.
The style that Rogers brings to the table is refreshing yet familiar, but all-round unique. I’d say Rogers’ music is for fans of Jeff Buckley, Cassia and anyone who loves the sound of artistically detailed guitar parts.
All in all, Bruno Rogers debut album is certainly one to check out and one that I would recommend.
The top tracks for me have to be “Who Knows“, “Mind at Large“ and “Baboon”.
Find 'Know Thyself' on Bandcamp here: