Dorcha Keep Birmingham Weird With Alt-Pop Epic ‘Bruiser’

Writer Emily Doyle / Photographer Sam Wood – cover art supplied by Dorcha

Sometimes acts feel the need to dredge up a song from their back catalogue over and over. It might be a fan favourite, or something that didn’t quite hit the mark the first time round. This is rarely a rewarding practice for the artist, or for the listener.

That is not the case with Dorcha’s ‘Bruiser’.

Back in 2018, Dorcha released the original version of ‘Bruiser’ as a stand-alone single. It draws the listener in with an irresistible post-punk bassline, before devolving into a cacophony of plaintive violin, organ freakouts and a ¾ breakdown.

It’s challenging, chaotic, and absorbing. Who could have known that what it really needed was…disco?

Flash-forward to 2020. It’s November and the UK has just gone into its second national lockdown. Enter Honey Badger, an album Dorcha has been gestating in Geoff Barrow’s Invada studios. Towards the end of side A there’s a familiar face.

‘Bruiser’ (2020) opens on composer-bandleader Anna Palmer’s breathy vocals, echoed by a string melody that’s straight out of golden age cinema. However, less than a minute in and a host of synths rumble into action. The arrangement has all the same urgency as its previous form, but now it feels like Dorcha have got their hands on the firepower to back it up.

The band proudly describe themselves as “genre-fluid”, and they’ve managed to strong-arm many of those genres into four minutes of surprisingly danceable avant-pop.

Yes, at times it jumps between ideas so fast it threatens the listener with auditory whiplash. But when the mists of psychedelia give way to the insistent rattle of a TR-808, you’ll be begging for more.

For more on Dorcha visit: – to listen to ‘Bruiser’ (2020) on Band Camp click here. 

For more from Geoff Barrow and Invada Records go to: