Purson – The Circle and the Blue Door (Rise Above Records/Metal Blade Records)

Tuesday, 7th May 2013
Rating: 8.5/10

I took a ride with London’s Purson recently. Spending several, heady hours wandering through their debut album, The Circle And The Blue Door. I held the wheel to my vehicle, yet, this trip it was clear Rosalie Cunningham and her troop of psychedelic musical hypnotists were navigating. I knew to simply surrender, listen and follow. Okay, that’s not quite what happened. I listened to this whimsical, heavy and (gasp!) romantic album alone several times while driving. Suspend disbelief for this review, won’t you? I’ve found that’s really the best way to enjoy anything, anyway.

The journey began, coaxed into action by Rosalie crooning in my ear to “Wake Up Sleepyhead” over some dreamy organ sounds. How could I not? The Muse commands. On “The Contract” we head off, a sense of urgency pushing the music both forward with the singular vision of a young artist and backward with sounds of the best in 60’s and 70’s dark and fuzzy rock here serving as the backdrop. During songs “Sailor’s Wife Lament” and “Spiderwood Farm,” we would get a little lost in the folk-y tales of friendly ghosts and loves lost. “Leaning On A Bear” and “Mavericks And Mystics” keep the caravan moving, balancing the heavy with the glam allowing for no more daydreaming. I wished I had brought my tambourine.

Just when I feel we’ve settled in for a smooth ride, “Well Spoiled Machine” takes us to a new place, one with ELO type synths and vocals recalling Siouxsie Sioux. This was unexpected and I am happy Purson took me there. Things got darker and doomier as we traveled on with “Rocking Horse.” Suddenly, “Sapphire Ward” speeds up this roam with proto-metal and enchantment.” My car serves as a majestic steed during the galloping guitar parts. Once again, suspending disbelief makes everything better.

The album and my wanderings with Purson come to a close on “Tragic Catastrophe,” a Bowie-styled lamentation that leaves us all shaking our heads and la,la,la-ing away the tears. There is indeed only one thing left to do. Drive farther, listen again.

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