Top positive review
9 people found this helpful
on 5 August 2013
Listening to Purson and debut album 'The Circle and the Blue Door', we coalesce in an aural reverie of the nostalgic, their sound unashamedly woven within musical echoes of the past and presenting a relevance to the present no more startling than the simple fact it is often startling good, if you like that sound, as I do.
The prog-folk opening to first song 'Wake Up Sleepy Head' sets the aural landscape with echoing vocal, acoustic guitar, flute, and mellotron as lush backdrop, so a resonance of Caravan and King Crimson, whilst lead singer Rosie Cunningham introduces her gorgeous vocal softly before segueing into second 'The Contract' where it is so clearly reminiscent of Curved Air's Sonja Kristina. Third 'Spiderwood Farm' is more overtly psychedelic with its heavy fuzzed, wah wah guitar and then other effects - and possibly an approximation to harpsichord inside the mix - as the rock riff with barebacked vocal roots the sound even more firmly in the past.
Fifth and single release [I got my vinyl copy a while ago] 'Leaning On A Bear' is the most sonically reflective of Curved Air, with a smattering of Nice thrown in by the organ and drum rhythms, and it is a glorious recreation of progrock, if you like that sound, as I do. Sixth 'Tempest and the Tide' exudes a more folky base, with lyrics that evoke fantasy and the occult as requisites for this broad retro-genre, and the mellotron again layers its lush backdrop. Seventh 'Mavericks and Mystics' foregrounds Cunningham's powerful vocal with a return to rock riffs to encourage headbanging, if you like that impulse, as I do. Citing influences that range from The Beatles to David Bowie to Slade, eighth 'Well Spoiled Machine' starts more with a wiff of The Doors and then moves quickly back into its prog roots, ending on classic distortion effects. Ninth 'Sapphire Ward' is pounding and loud with effective guitar effects but reflecting at this stage of the album a need for more creativity and variety in the songwriting to produce that album which fully establishes its mark, as much as it looks to the past for inspiration. By closer 'Tragic Catastrophe', those 60s/70s effects engage but don't capture as wholly as I'd like, though Cunningham's vocal is the quality that is sustained throughout, and make this album still highly recommended.
I'd love to catch this band live and will be attempting to do so once they return from Europe where there is perhaps a greater appreciation of this excellent musical reflection of the past.