Head to Manchester’s recently-resurrected venue New Century on 23 October to catch one of the most exciting live acts around: LA-based R&B/soul trio, Gabriels.
Gabriels are a real discovery. Featuring the soaring, once-in-a-generation vocals of gospel singer Jacob Lusk and the smouldering production of Ryan Hope and Ari Balouzian, theirs is a sound of an era, and yet future facing. Echoes of vintage soul and R&B coast alongside the warmer, more human fringes of electronica and the spacious experimentation of contemporary alt pop.
The trio first came together back in 2016, when Hope and Balouzian were working on a film, Hope in the director’s chair and Balouzian working on the soundtrack. In search of a choir for the project, they met the Compton-raised Lusk at the casting sessions and instantly knew they were in the presence of a great vocal talent. Of course, Lusk got the part. Then, after filming was done, Hope and Balouzian reached out to Lusk to see if he was interested in working on something a little more experimental.
Four years later, Gabriels dropped their debut EP, Love And Hate In A Different Time, to widespread critical acclaim. Finding fans in the likes of Elton John, David Byrne and Giles Peterson, the EP could soundtrack a David Lynch epic such is its drama and suspenseful, late-night orchestral ruminations. Capped by Lusk’s voice, a weapon that swoops and swoons through the octaves, Gabriels have that rare ability to make you re-evaluate music, and what it can do.
The trio have just released the first part of their debut album, produced by Sounwave (Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé), giving you a a good few weeks to get it around your ears before the Manchester show. “Our debut album Angels & Queens is a unique exploration of love and loss from each of our differing perspectives”, say the band. “We were planning to release it next year, but got the opportunity to collaborate with some of the most amazing people who initially were strangers, but within weeks became family in the most mind blowing process”.
Here’s a taster in the form of the title track – a loose-limbed, soul-stirring funk and gospel song that hints at the direction of the trio’s explosive future.