Purson have been on my radar since they won the Vanguard award at the Prog Magazine Awards last year. The question for me was always how Purson would differ from the slew of bands out there that are mining the psych rock sound of the late 60s / early 70s. It seems like they are everywhere!
Purson are led by the multi-talented Rosalie Cunningham who for me is the female version of Dave Wyndorf. Monster Magnet might be slightly heavier at times but the two bands are way better than any “retro” band for one clear reason. While many bands are trying to be retro, Purson ARE. The same goes for Monster Magnet who I have loved for years now.
Purson have more “pomp” and innate prog in them than Monster Magnet. While Wyndorf was clearly following the path of Hawkwind, Cunningham was melting less obvious bands together. The Strawbs mixed with early Deep Purple with a dash of the weirdness of Comus. All the while, she and the band make sure that this are all very memorable songs.
This second album, “Desire’s Magic Theatre,” proves that Purson are definitely fearless and not willing to compromise their vision. There’s the Vaudevillian stomp of “Dead Dodo Down” which showcases the bands love of bands like Queen. “Electric Landlady” sounds like it would have been a hit 40 years ago. My favorite tracks are the two mini-epics “The Sky Parade” and the big closing number “The Bitter Suite.” Each of these songs have the style and vibe of some of the best prog of the 70s.
There’s no denying talent like that of Rosalie Cunningham and the rest of Purson. This is not a band that plays this brand of retro prog folk rock because it’s somehow in fashion. Purson are one of the few bands who sound the way they SHOULD sound. “Desire’s Magic Theatre” is a wild trip thru the Looking Glass with Purson who never try to lose you along the way.
1. Desire’s Magic Theatre
2. Electric Landlady
3. Dead Dodo Down
4. Pedigree Chums
5. The Sky Parade
6. The Window Cleaner
7. The Way It Is
8. Mr Howard
9. I Know
10. The Bitter Suite
Label: Spinefarm Records
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