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Purson - The Circle & The Blue Door CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.96 | 72 ratings

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Cactus Choir
4 stars Listening to the debut album by these London early 20-somethings you could be forgiven for playing Spot the Influence. There are strong echoes of the Beatles, Deep Purple, Trees, King Crimson, Black Sabbath, Atomic Rooster, Curved Air, The Doors and a whole (Uriah) heap of others. They sound like an unknown Vertigo label act from 1971 that has somehow timed travelled into the new millennium.

The vintage organ, mellotron and electric piano sounds are likely to evoke warm and fuzzy feelings in lovers of late 60s and early 70s rock, but thankfully it's more than a mere nostalgia trip and there are several memorable songs that rock very agreeably plus a number of more haunting and folky moments. No epic length opuses though so prog fundamentalists beware!

The good thing is that despite the retro vibe ? they even manage to get the drum sound right - they channel their myriad inspirations into something fresh and seemingly original and end up not sounding like anyone in particular. It's an alternative past they take you back to, one where Black Widow, Slade, David Bowie and Fairport Convention made an album with Siouxsie Sioux on vocals.

There are several ear worm songs that stick in the memory including Spiderwood Farm with its monster guitar hook framing creepy mellotron-swathed verses about friendly ghosts, and Well Spoiled Machine a sinuous rocker with a great electric piano riff. The Fairport/Steeleye Span folk influence comes to the fore in the eerie Tempest and the Tide.

I have found this to be a very addictive album and if it had a smell it would probably be of Afghan coats, weed and patchouli oil. It is largely the work of frontwoman Rosalie Cunningham ? whose strong and expressive voice is a major asset throughout - and her former boyfriend Ed Turner. Purson is now a fully-formed band though one with a turnover in the rhythm section that seemingly rivals Spinal Tap, and it will be very interesting to see what they come up with in future.

Cactus Choir | 4/5 |


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