The Purchase-based trio Bruise wreaks a blissful havoc that unfurls around grunge-informed rock. Bruise’s sound co-mingles early blues and punk, with the raucous energy of a basement show. The band creates pulsating, hard edge live shows buoyed by vocalist Lucie Murphy, bassist Aidan Elias and drummer Max Kupperberg (formerly of Palehound). Bruise is guided by Lucie Murphy, who floats around the stage like a punk-rock pixie, bearing an unintentional resemblance to punk queens such as PJ Harvey and Liz Phair. As she roars from song to song, what comes through is her confidence: a voice that is nervy and open.
Bruise has been playing plenty of shows and even though the only recorded music they have up is a a two-track straight-to-bandcamp demo EP, it shows off their potential. The track “I’m not” captures the sensation of being caught up in a passionate relationship while also feeling constrained by someone else’s standards, emphasized by Murphy wailing, “I tried to be what you wanted.” Packed with tart, hooky guitar maneuvers and crashing drums, the song reaches a catharsis as Murphy cries out repeatedly “I feel so clean.” Devotion, rejection and everything in between powers this pure-punk anthem.
A softer track, “Doll”, carries fuzzy distorted bass and heavy drums amped up by the force of Murphy’s corrosive voice. Lucie expands on her songwriting process: “I wrote ‘Doll’ when I was probably 16. I think it’s the first song I ever wrote in drop-D actually, there was probably some major Nirvana influence. The lyrics deal with loss, attachment, and they’re kind of flirty too. I think I was trying to encompass the feeling of being infatuated with a person, wanting them to be a part of you even if you don’t know them all that well.”
Bruise’s two-track-release already exhibits the emotional vocal grace and sonic chaos of the Breeders. Recently back from a short tour with Thomas Quinttus and, having just finished their freshman year at Purchase, the band is about to record their first five-track EP. Like her hero Patti Smith, Lucie holds high hopes for Bruise: “In the future we aspire to release a full-length record and continue to play shows with some of our favorite bands. I also really hope to inspire more young women to pick up instruments and start bands. That is the most important thing to me”.