As Puressence approach comfortable middle age, and with barely a whiff of success in the UK for their previous 4 excellent albums, they might be forgiven for wallowing in their hauntingly beautiful misery. But age and time is only seeing them get louder.
They may never be an angry band but Solid State Recital follows on from 2007's Don't Forget to Remember
, upping the volume to crescendo levels and while a little of the beauty of debut Puressence
is lost the quality of the songs here are as good as any they have produced; James' voice tremulous with tension coming through the roar.
First two tracks are classic Puressence and could easily have been lifted of their debut and wonderful second album Only Forever
respectively. No one does the cloying introspection of mundane life quite like Puressence, a melancholy that's always tinged with quiet hope: "with every word that is spoken, we're more broken", James sings on second track Burma, qualified by the quiet hope of the refrain "Sometimes, I feel i'm alright." Puressence don't do great big statements of life affirming optimism or woe betide-ful self loathing but they capture the majesty of the everyday in a way every bit as grand.
I doubt Solid State Recital will garner them many new fans, the album itself is a slow burner of a thing, bristling but rarely bursting into life. But it grabbed me immediately and the rewards for continued listening, and on this album Puressence really are a band you have to listen to rather than have as background music, are worth the perseverance. This is another wonderful entry into a virtually impeccable back catalog of work from one of the UKs finest groups.
I just hope we don't have to wait too long for more :)