Compassion: Yellow Vinyl LP
Rui Gabriel

Compassion: Yellow Vinyl LP

CAK174LP
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Label: Carpark
Release Date: 21st June

Coming of age art isn't just reserved for those entering into adulthood from teenage life but can also belong to those living a somewhat teenage life in their adulthood and now attempting or being dragged into adulthood proper (becoming a Dad will do that). Rui Gabriel of the excellent power pop garage rock outfit Lawn presents a pillowy slacker pop record about such arbitrary moments in life like a potential argument in a supermarket. 

The inviting and perceptive songs on Rui Gabriel’s debut LP Compassion all tackle growing up. It’s about how the older you get, your priorities shift, friendships evolve, and responsibilities become inescapable. For Gabriel, the Indiana-based, Venezuela-born artist and co-founder of the acclaimed band Lawn, the changes in his own life inspired him to write a solo full-length that sounds like nothing the indie rock journeyman has done before. Across 10 vibrant tracks that combine ethereal pop with slacker-rock and piano-driven dance music, it’s a galvanizing showcase of personal growth and the grace you give yourself to push forward.


Work on Compassion started in 2018 when Gabriel was living in New Orleans. “I was living a pretty teenage life in many ways,” says Gabriel. “I worked at a pizza restaurant and would just go to shows or parties. I wasn’t doing anything other than music. I didn't have many responsibilities.” The songs he was working on at the time—tracks that didn’t fit Lawn but Gabriel still liked—initially went unfinished. But as Gabriel’s life changed, so did his songwriting and his desire to see his ideas through. “When I was writing lyrics, I was settling down with my partner and about to become a dad,” says Gabriel. “I was making choices about my life that contradicted the existence I had before. I had a different set of priorities.”


The songs on Compassion deal with youthful carelessness ("Dreamy Boys") and coming face-to-face with newfound responsibilities ("Change Your Mind"). It's consistently a biting, observant look at getting older thanks to Gabriel's unique perspective as a South American immigrant who's lived across the United States for the past 13 years. “When you are Hispanic, English isn't your first language, and you're in a music scene with a bunch of white people, you're going to stand out a little bit,” he says. On “Church of Nashville,” “Hey, Leonard Cohen is singing poems by the gentrified alley” he humorously aims at scene pretension and industry gatekeepers.


Compared to Gabriel’s work with Lawn, where he writes frenetic post-punk songs and yells, for Compassion he explores more straightforward pop sensibilities and showcases his singing voice. “I wanted to do a solo record to prove to myself that I could sing,” says Gabriel. Take the meditative, piano-based lead single “Target,” which is inspired by Dido and finds Gabriel gorgeously harmonizing with singer Kate Teague. He reaches similar infectiousness on the sunny rocker “Summertime Tiger,” which guests Stef Chura. Co-produced by Gabriel and Nicholas Corson (The Convenience, Video Age), Compassion is consistently warm, generous, colorful, and adventurous.


Compassion is a record about change,” says Gabriel. “It's a coming-of-age record but for somebody who's coming of age into their thirties.”


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