Purson – Desire’s Magic Theatre (Album Review)

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Purson are a psychedelic rock band from London, England.  Founded by Rosalie Cunningham, Purson formed after Cunningham disbanded her previous project Ipso FactoCunningham describes the sound as “vaudeville carny psych“.  This is a very apt description.

The album is very retro sounding and harks back to Jimi Hendrix, The Doors and Janis Joplin.  It is a laid back lab of hedonistic whimsy and the musical soundscape would suit a late night drinking den…or maybe more mind-altering substances if that is your bag!  The guitars weave in and around the Hammond organ and jazzy drumming.  It is not a record to be listened to in daylight or if you are trying to pump up the adrenaline.

The vocals of Cunningham are strong and sweet sounding, but with a hint of menace.  It brings to mind some of the sounds made by Generation Kill on “Carnies“.  Images of strolling through a fair at night with all the lights twinkling and the freak shows of yesteryear.  It is a deep record which has a very playful edge to it.  Songs such as “Electric Landlady” and “The Bitter Suite” reference famous songs and twist them.  My favourite song title is “Pedigree Chums“, which is a riff on a brand of UK dog food!

From the psychedelic opener title track on, the album walks in not one straight line.  The Hendrix influence haunts “Electric Landlady” and the tracks of The Doors can be found on “The Window Cleaner“.  Other influences can be traced to T-Rex with the “Mr Howard” track.  There are smatterings of The Byrds, Jethro Tull, and even The Beatles.

Do I like this record?  Well, it is never going to feature on my top 10 of 2016, but it is an interesting selection, with a distinct retro groove.  I was a tad disappointed that the vocals weren’t clearer and that I couldn’t understand the twisted tales being told.  I think this album is for lovers of psychedelic songs only…

Buy: Purson – Desire’s Magic Theatre

Official website / Facebook / Twitter

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