Review: Purson -­ 'Desire's Magic Theatre'

The long awaited sophomore album from British outfit Purson is finally here and Christ it’s been worth the wait. Three years after debut album ‘The Circle & The Blue Door’ came crashing onto the scene,Rosalie Cunningham and Co have returned with an album to blitz the senses and stimulate the imagination. Forget about trying to pin any particular brand or genre on the band ,instead just chill out and go with the flow and you’ll be rewarded with one of the most complete albums released so far this year. The title track opens the album with some background audience noise (perhaps a nod to Sgt Pepper ?) before a solid Glam Rock groove comes crashing through the speakers. Cunningham has a hugely evocative voice that oozes passion and wraps the listener up in a mysterious haze. So many changes in direction during the song, listen closely and you’ll hear some gorgeous saxophone (more Roxy Music than Kenny G though), and perhaps some harpsichord. The guitar breaks are incredible and this song must be mind­blowing when it’s performed live. Latest video ‘Electric Landlady’ (yes,that is correct Hendrix aficionados) is up next with a real Sabbath like intro complete with atmospheric keyboards. Glam Rock, The Beatles, saxophone, harpsichord and now Sabbath all within the first two songs? I told you not to try and pin the band down! The song has some memorable hooks that rattle around in the psyche some time after and again the guitar work is spell­binding but it’s the bewitching vocals from Cunningham that stand out. The album has an old school aura surrounding it in the sense that it works so much better when it’s heard in it’s entirety in one go. ‘Electric Landlady’ is a great snapshot but ignore the others at your peril.’Dead Dodo Down’ has a high­kicking swing to it while ‘Pedigree Chums’ has a vocal that just burrows it’s way into your brain and whispers to you very gently…very trippy. ’The Window Cleaner’ has a Iron Butterfly vibe to it and in places ‘The Sky Parade’ could appeal to fans of Little Queen era Heart. One of the lengthier tracks on the album and it twists and turns but never loses the listeners attention. I love the acoustic intro. ’The Way It Is’ is much shorter and way poppier whereas ‘Mr Howard’ is darker and the guitar work mid-song totally slams. ‘I Know’ and ‘The Bitter Suite’ flow seamlessly into one another, mellow in places soaring in others, Cunningham’s ethereal vocals enthrall throughout and bring this incredible album to a fitting end. This is an intriguing album that rewards you with something new each listen and special mention must go to the incredible album cover artwork. Cunningham painted blue looking like a Hindu goddess with multiple arms, holding her Gibson SG with a massive vertigo spiral as a backdrop, surrounded by the other band members in each corner. One very special example of why you should give the download a miss and go with the psychical product…would look amazing on vinyl.
Purson are a welcome break from the norm and are different without being contrived in any way. The recent US dates with Ghost will have given them great exposure. In the UK, Marc Riley on BBC Radio 6 has championed the band, so the support is there but then you remember that James Bay can sell out multiple nights in Academy sized venues and suddenly the world doesn’t seem right anymore. So, Purson need you support! ‘Desire’s Magic Theatre’ is released April 29th through Spinefarm Records and the band will be appearing at The Ramblin Man Fair this summer, so check them out. Review by Dave Stott
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