Take a mixture of folk music, progressive rock, and a psych-metal carnival sound roll it all together on one album and what do you end up with? The answer is simple; you end up with the debut album, “The Circle and the Blue Door” from the British five piece band, Purson.
Purson, fronted by 22 year old Rosalie Cunningham, formerly of Ipso Facto, on lead vocals and guitar, is joined by George Hudson on guitar, Samuel Shove playing the organ, mellotron, and Wurlitzer, Barnaby Maddick on the bass, and rounded out the quintet is Jack Hobbs on the drums. Together the band takes a little of everything from the psychedelic 70’s, folk and carnival vaudevillian type music and weaves it together to produce a sound that hasn’t been heard since the likes of Slade, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin or Jefferson Airplane, well at least not released in recent years anyway.
The band’s influences may be rooted in the classic period of late 60s /early 70s rock, but the lyrics come from someplace deeper and more personal to Cunningham, she said in an interview with Spin Magazine that “I write about things going on; I don’t write about dragons and mountains. I write about what’s going on around us.”
For example on the track, “Spiderwood Farm”, Cunningham sings about ghosts, she imagined a scenario where the “ex dwellers of Spiderwood Farm, though they live here, they mean you no harm”. Musically the track starts off with a very epic sounding drum and guitar piece, before adding in the organ to give the song that sort of vaudevillian feel. In the song, you can almost hear the influences of Bowie, Rush, and Black Sabbath all mixed into an original sound.
Purson’s “Leaning on a Bear”
The same goes for the track, “Leaning on a Bear”, Cunningham’s vocals almost remind of something between Grace Slick’s Jefferson Airplane with a background riff that is as catchy as anything that progressive rock put out in the 70’s, but somehow it doesn’t sound rehashed or like a cover or tribute band, it provides a very unique sound.
Other stand out tracks on the album include the somber and folksy opening track, “Wake Up Sleepy Head”, which immediately introduces you to Cunningham’s extremely unique vocal stylings. And the up-tempo “Well Spoiled Machine”, that has an organ riff in it that is almost reminiscent of something from perhaps The Doors, in addition to a flawless blending of vocals, harmonies and guitar riffs that are almost ethereal sounding, and has an almost cinematic element to it, as do many of the tracks on the album.
As a whole, “The Circle and the Blue Door” possesses a remarkable sound to it. It’s like nothing out there in the musical world right now. Whether that will work for or against Purson has yet to be seen, but seeing as it was Great Britain that brought back the blues sound with Duffy and Amy Winehouse, perhaps Purson will bring back the epic days of progressive folk rock, with an ever changing music industry, one can never tell.
For more on the band, check them out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pursontheband and keep an eye out for them to tour in America later in 2013.
Written by Christina Lawler