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CD REVIEW: PURSON – Desire’s Magic Theatre

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Label: Spinefarm Records

Release Date: April 29, 2016

Rating: 9/10

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

Every once in a while something so diverse and out of my “comfort zone” comes along and grabs my attention.  The latest release from Purson is that something right now, with their sound self-billed as ‘vaudeville carny psych.’  From track to track, it is almost impossible to pigeon-hole this band into a genre, other than rock.  Disc opener and title track “Desire’s Magic Theatre” is a chugging track that leans into rocks past with fuzzy heavy guitars and vocals that are as bluesy as they are rock.  The groove of the track sets the disc on the right track and gives us hope for the next nine songs.  First single “Electric Landlady” opens with a cool riff combined with various keyboard noodling that swirl together underneath the killer vocals of founder and front woman Rosalie Cunningham.  The guitars are solid, but the rhythm section perfectly anchors the track.  “Pedigree Chums” is another song than leans heavily on Cunningham’s vocals and the way they play against the different instruments, especially Samuel Robinson’s keyboards and George Hudson’s guitars.  The bridges come off as are mini jam sessions for the rhythm section and keyboards.  “The Window Cleaner” brings more of Rosalie’s great vocals to the mix, with solid bass lines from Justin Smith.  Drummer Raphael Mura keeps time, even when the songs seems to shift and transform.  “Mr. Howard” is a fuzzy rocker that features cool sounding guitars and fun keyboards with some of the best vocals on the disc from Cunningham.  The texture of this track is different from most of the tracks on the disc, but fits perfectly on the collection.

“Dead Dodo Down” features a throwback guitar sound courtesy of Hudson, as well as a cool bass line from Justin Smith on the bottom end of the tracks mix.  The mood of the track feels like some sort of haunted circus or carnival come to life, while the vocals breathe a crisp life into the song.  “The Sky Parade” unfolds slowly like a flower in the spring.  Robinson’s keyboards carry the track from open to close, but Rosalie’s vocals cannot be dismissed on this emotionally delivered song.  The track shifts between bluesy rocker and prog rock seamlessly at times and delivers, even when the tempo slows way down.  “The Way It Is” is a lighthearted track that blends the band’s sound with an off pop sensibility and flows perfectly thanks to the blend of vocals, keyboards, and guitars – especially at the bridge.  “I Know” is another track with an odd tempo that works within the parameters of the other songs.  Cunningham’s vocals enhance this track on every level – with layered vocals on the verse to a solid delivery at the chorus.  If the band were to regularly perform ballads, this is what I imagine they would sound like.  Disc closer “The Bitter Suite” wraps a lot of the different tones, textures, and vibes from throughout the disc into one next seven minute package.  From the lofty ethereal vocals to the chugging riffs and solid rhythm section, this song demonstrates the bands strengths and keeps you wanting more.  The keyboards, drums, and bass come together delivering an awesome jazz groove that demonstrates more diversity in the band’s sound and ability.  What a great disc and follow up to 2013’s The Circle And The Blue Door, which was released three years ago, almost to the day.

Tracklisting: Desire’s Magic Theatre – Electric Landlady – Dead Dodo Down – Pedigree Chums – The Sky Parade – The Window Cleaner – The Way It Is – Mr. Howard – I Know – The Bitter Suite

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Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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