Purson
The Circle and the Blue Door


4.0
excellent

Review

by Voivod STAFF
May 9th, 2013 | 21 replies


Release Date: 04/29/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Purson turn their spotlight towards the intermediate space between ‘70s pop, progressive, and occult/folk rock and deliver an enticing debut album.

For every individual striving to leave its mark upon this vainly world, they say that “if at first you don’t succeed, then try, try again”. However, for Southend, Essex based guitarist/vocalist Rosalie Cunningham the previously mentioned quote could be re-written as “If at first you do succeed for all the wrong reasons, try, try again”. After her relocation to London, Cunningham fronted the all female alt rock Ipso Facto outfit and soon started moving up in the world, but somehow this was happening in the light of an agenda that had little to do with music itself. As a result, she disbanded the outfit after the release of one mini album.

After several unsuccessful attempts in tracking band associates she could really depend on, Rosie met Ed Turner, a multi-instrumentalist/sound engineer at Toe-Rag studios and a fellow vintage rock enthusiast. Together they were the seed of a new band named after Purson, a hell demon and good things started happening for the act. Their debut 7" on the legendary Rise Above label sold out on pre-order, whereas they were invited to open the live concerts of acclaimed doom metal acts such as Pentagram and Electric Wizard. As of yet, their upward course is being further complemented with a full length album, titled The Circle and the Blue Door, an enticing album where the band turns its spotlight towards the intermediate space between ‘70s pop, progressive, and occult/folk rock.

Unlike Cunningham’s previous outfit, Purson appear to be polycentric with respect to their portfolio of inspiration. Aside from obvious influences and bands such as Pentagram, Coven or Black Widow, whose occult rock was bearing folk and psychedelic elements as well, the band appears to draw a fair amount of inspiration from pop rock outfits such as David Bowie and The Beatles and folk rock veterans such as Fairport Convention. In that respect, the material in The Circle and the Blue Door shows itself as fairly diverse. That being said, what initially distinguishes Purson’s debut album, is the band’s great instrumental and song writing ability in fusing a discrete progressive rock aura to the aforementioned cultural inheritance and crafting songs of great replay value.

In the light of the above, atmospheric acoustic guitars are either waltzing or blues dooming over the chameleon-like rhythm section (pay attention to the bass in “Contract”). On the more energetic parts of the album, the catch lies in the non-trivial interplay between rhythm guitars and the fantastically crafted old fashioned keyboards (“Leaning on a Bear”) which also serve as a third rhythm/lead guitar on not too few occasions. However, the element lifting the album on a whole different level is Rosie’s vocal work. Contrary to what is the case for many female fronted occult/vintage rock acts out there, Rosie has a powerful, fully mastered and crystal clear voice, with an excellent performance on both the mellower and the more passionate sites of the album. Her vocals become even more meaningful in view of her written lyrics, which further enhance the folk character of the album, as Cunningham narrates fictionalized versions of real events (“The Sailor’s Wife’s Lament”) or coins entertaining stories that revolve around the occult (“Spiderwood Farm”).

As an epilogue, Purson’s debut album summarizes appropriately the strong sense of purpose with which the band introduces itself to the world of music. The Circle and the Blue Door is a worthy addition to any dedicated record collection with respect to the occult/vintage rock and comes as a strong statement in a time where some debate has risen as to whether this retro rock revival maintains its initial spontaneity and quality. On a personal level, it is a first triumph for Rosie Cunningham and an example of free spirit rock musicians acting exactly as such, as it stands as proof of a true vision that has been pursued at all costs, eve if that means experiencing abrupt personal life changes or discarding success that’s there for all the wrong reasons.



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user ratings (32)
Chart.
3.5
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other reviews of this album
Robert Davis CONTRIBUTOR (4)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Voivod
Staff Reviewer
May 9th 2013


6196 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

album stream: http://www.spin.com/articles/purson-circle-and-the-blue-door-album-stream/

Leaning On A Bear (video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c90mXA_Jrc4&feature=player_embedded




Constructive criticism is most welcome.

Digging: Alkoholizer - Free Beer... Surf's Up!!!

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
May 9th 2013


1892 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Loving this album right now

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
May 9th 2013


6196 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I hear you man.

I've had the promo for about 3 weeks and the album was constantly growing in me.

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
May 9th 2013


1892 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Got the album a few days ago and me, along with my parents, are gradually liking it more and more. Plus the band is playing in my hometown in a couple of weeks so times are indeed good.

halloway
May 9th 2013


684 Comments


Bookmarked.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
May 9th 2013


6196 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

In the May issue of the Hellenic Metal Hammer, there is a praising report from their concert in Relentless Garage, London on March 22.

It would be great if they could come to Greece as well, but right now this is wishful thinking.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2013


4442 Comments


This sounds really great. I need to check this out. Excellent work as always, Voivod.

TheCruddyBug
May 10th 2013


17 Comments


This is the kind of stuff I want to see

Evreaia
May 10th 2013


4045 Comments


summary is sprakled my interest

sweet review

Cygnatti
May 10th 2013


21353 Comments


[2]

Willie
Moderator
May 10th 2013


16049 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice review. I thought this was good, but I'm not a fan of the 70s stuff.

Digging: Skrew - Universal Immolation

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2013


6196 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This sound is more or less an acquired taste, it is very hard for bands to emulate it and produce interesting albums altogether, but it takes only a snap of the finger to sound bland and derivative.

That being said, at first few listening sessions, Purson's album seemed derivative, but as I kept on listening, I saw myself remembering most of the songs with little effort.

On another note and placing the rest of the treats aside, the bass and the keyboards in this album are a real delight listening to.

manosg
May 10th 2013


6250 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review Voivod, will definitely listen to this one.

Digging: Acrimony - Tumuli Shroomaroom

Perplexion
May 10th 2013


127 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is some pretty solid stuff

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2013


6196 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

It is indeed and if you listen to it some more it will grow a bit more.

SteelErectedb4you8er
May 10th 2013


2618 Comments


Awesome review, Voivod. I loved their EP, and the song I heard off this is cool. I will have to listen to the whole thing.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
May 11th 2013


7417 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Yeah. Excellent work, mate.

I'm digging this record too.

Digging: Dope Body - Lifer

demigod!
May 12th 2013


44715 Comments


This sounds like something i'd dig.

Digging: Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End

Detritivore
July 18th 2013


271 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Tasteful

Digging: Cro-Mags - Alpha Omega

DrGunther
July 24th 2013


184 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review. Yet another cool retro-style rock album released in the last couple of years.

As a bonus, the intro to Well Spoiled Machine sounds like the famous "Keyboard Cat" video off youtube! Been bugging me for ages what it was.

Digging: The Machine - Calmer Than You Are



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