‘Columbo’ is Bruno Major’s third studio album and follows the impeccable ‘A Song For Every Moon’ (2017) and the modern soul of ‘To Let A Good Thing Die’ (2020). As far as trifectas go, this pretty much makes for perfect listening.
This offering from the crooning singer-songwriter is an introspective and observational take on his brand of soul-tinged pop, which he has really refined. ‘Columbo’ demonstrates how Bruno is going from strength to strength with his sound and his ability to write about the more intricate nature of life. Things we don’t always stop to think about on a day to day basis.
A playful, embellished piano can be heard introducing the opening track ‘The Show Must Go On’ which is also one of the only tracks which gives in insight into Bruno’s personal stance on things. (“If you’re always putting on a show / You lose yourself before you know”). He describes someone who is feeling lost despite them having “everything you ever wanted”.
‘Columbo’ is named for the white 1978 Mercedes 380SL Bruno splurged while on a hedonistic trip in LA, following the pandemic. It was sadly written off after a sudden crash but this became an inspired moment of clarity, which led to this romantic-feeling album. The album represents a chaotic time in Bruno’s life, but also reflects on his feelings surrounding this album.
The title track is nostalgic and a heartfelt goodbye, while ‘A Strange Kind Of Beautiful’ was described by Bruno as: “Probably my favourite track I’ve written.” It marks the intricacies noticed when you truly love someone, that no-one else gets to see.
Bruno previously wrote songs on the piano, but decided to use simply a notepad and pen, and acoustic guitar, to write these songs and has kept the production fairly stripped back too. His smooth, silky vocals are reassuring on the devastating on ‘Tears In Rain’ which is dedicated to his late grandmother as he questions whether they will meet again and worries about “all the little things” that will be “lost” following her passing. It’s these details in his songwriting, as he questions things like who his grandmother’s favourite author was, which give those personal touches to his songs.
Meanwhile, ‘Tell Her’ is an R&B-laced pensive, lovelorn plea for forgiveness, which began as a letter that Bruno asked a friend to pass to someone they saw at a party when he couldn’t be there himself. It sees him coming to terms with the end of a relationship.
The 12-track album is soothing and emotive – it will force you to stop, take a breath in this “complicated” world, and take a listen. We can’t fault ‘Columbo’. It’s brilliant. The tempo is consistent, slow and chilled yet engaging, relaxing and comforting and we can’t help but wonder if this is how he felt when driving along the Pacific Coast Highway.
Words: Narzra Ahmed