Tuesday, May 21, 2013

REVIEW: Purson - The Circle And The Blue Door

Purson are Rosalie Cunningham - Vocals, Lead Guitar, George Hudson - Guitars, Samuel Shove - Organ, Mellotron, Wurlitzer, Barnaby Maddick - Bass, BVs, BJs, and Jack Hobbs - Drums. Cunningham is a former member of Ipso Facto, a band of British teenagers that she formed at 16, then broke up when she decided that the acclaim they received for their appearance was actually getting in the way of the music she wanted to make. And she is an excellent vocalist and guitarist with very clear ideas about how she wants her music to sound. Citing influences as varied as Bowie, The Beatles, Slade, The Faces and Led Zeppelin, she nonetheless adds her own style, and with that, this album rises far above the level of pastiche or imitation.

The Circle And The Blue Door is a terrific record. Much like the Wolf People record reviewed here recently, it does a wonderful job of molding together some very original (though sort of timeless) lyrical ideas - from literature, music and the supernatural - with some well-executed musical ideas, from the folk music of "The Sailor's Wife's Lament" to the all-out heavy rock of "Leaning On A Bear", my favorite song on the record:  

And here's a live video "The Contract":

Other highlights include the melodic "Spiderwood Farm", which has an almost lullaby feel, albeit with a heavy prog rock base: "Spiderwood Farm is about ghosts," says Rosie. "I was looking through a copy of Sounds from 1972 when I saw a band mentioned called Spiderwood Farm. From there I thought of a song about ex-dwellers, who are, of course, dead. The council are trying to evict them, but they're not doing anything wrong. They're just hanging about."

"Tragic Catastrophe" describes her dreams of being a rock star and feeling like a girl out of time. "It starts with me as a kid, going through my dad's 70s music magazines in the attic and being fascinated with these people, and wondering how on earth I could ever do guitar music today." At its best, rock music transports you. That is the goal of The Circle And The Blue Door, and Cunningham has succeeded.

The Circle And The Blue Door was released Apr. 30 on Metal Blade/Rise Above Records.

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