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Purson The Circle & The Blue Door album cover
3.96 | 72 ratings | 6 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Wake Up Sleepy Head (2:06)
2. The Contract (4:11)
3. Spiderwood Farm (5:09)
4. Sailor's Wife's Lament (3:59)
5. Leaning on a Bear (3:27)
6. Tempest and the Tide (5:06)
7. Mavericks and Mystics (3:48)
8. Well Spoiled Machine (5:09)
9. Sapphire Ward (5:02)
10. Rocking Horse (4:25)
11. Tragic Catastrophe (5:21)

Total time 47:45

Line-up / Musicians

- Rosalie Cunningham / vocals, electric, 12-string & acoustic guitars, Wurlitzer, organ, Mellotron, percussion, composer & producer
- William Cunningham / sax
- Ed Turner / bass, acoustic guitar, percussion, composer & producer
- Raphael Mura / drums

Releases information

CD Rise Above Records ‎- RISECD152 (2013, UK)

LP Rise Above Records ‎- RISELP152 (2013, UK)

Thanks to windhawk for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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PURSON The Circle & The Blue Door ratings distribution

(72 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

PURSON The Circle & The Blue Door reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Progfan97402
4 stars Purson, like the Norwegian band Tusmørke, is one of these new retro bands that lean more towards folk and psychedelic, but this stuff would never appeal to diehard symph progheads (you'll never mistake them for Yes or Genesis) and plenty of Mellotron. Think proto-prog, except these are brand new recordings. Purson is more or less a psychedelic folk band lead by Rosalie Cunninham who used to be in a all-teen girl goth group Ipso Facto. It's obvious that Rosalie wanted to explore music that has roots deeper than Siouxie & the Banshees. So here's Purson exploring that brand of psychedelia that's on the cusp of prog, hence proto-prog, except The Circle and the Blue Door is from 2013. The music has a Gothic feel, but not of the Goth music variety, but of that late '60s/early '70s feel. I can compare this to the likes of Black Widow and Coven, but Purson doesn't explore Satanism like those groups did. Perhaps a bit of Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span. Plus plenty of Mellotron, which was borrowed from Andy Thompson, who runs the Planet Mellotron website. His tron was used in Diagonal, another British retro-prog/psych act that also recorded for Rise Above Records like Purson (although Diagonal's music is more progressive). I can also compare Purson to Tusmørke, except the Norwegian band had no female vocalist and a stronger Tull bent, as Purson never included a flute player. Tusmørke also had a strong Nordic vibe in their music which Purson, being British, obviously doesn't. It's amazing that the members of Purson are barely in their 20s given the style of music they successfully recreated is a generation older than themselves. When they were born, New Kids on the Block, Paula Abdul and Milli Vanilli were the big rage with mainstream audiences. Rosalie Cunningham was born in 1990, and she was able to learn about all those old psych and prog acts from her parents music collection as well as the Internet. It's obvious that Purson is Rosalie's vehicle, as it's very much dominated by her voice, who reminds me a bit of Grace Slick, Annie Lennox, and even Jenny Haan of Babe Ruth. Diehard symphonic progheads probably would not need this, but those who enjoy proto-prog (or fancy the idea of a new group trying such), or perhaps prog folk or psychedelic folk will find enjoyable. Since I'm not a diehard symph proghead, I find it rather enjoyable.
Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 2013 was the year that Purson had finally released their debut album and it was pretty much as good as I was expecting it to be! After the debut EP in 2013 and the first single Leaning On A Bear, my expectations upon this release were really high. Looking at the track list, I saw a few familiar tracks like the re-recorded versions of Spiderwood Farm and Rocking Horse, from the debut EP, and the first single Leaning On A Bear. This meant that I already was familiar with three out of the eleven tracks featured here. But how was the rest of the tracks and how well did the familiar material blend in with the rest of the album?

The opening track Wake Up Sleepy Head starts off with a dreamy intro which is then followed by the more familiar tones of electric guitar and organ on The Contract. The slightly expanded version of Spiderwood Farm is neither better nor worse than its predecessor off the debut EP while the playful tones of Sailor's Wife's Lament remind me of the Slapp Happy album Casablanca Moon. The first single, Leaning On A Bear, is another uptempo rock track featuring a hefty dose of organ while Tempest And The Tide is where the album introduces familiar tunes of Mellotron. I really hope that Purson could do more longer tracks since most of their better material is generally tracks that dare to go past the five minute mark.

Mavericks And Mystics and Well Spoiled Machine seem to pass by pretty swiftly, both featuring a few interesting passages here and there but overall don't bring me the same sense of enjoyment as some of the other tracks on The Circle & The Blue Door. Sapphire Ward is the album's heaviest moment that is dominated by some heavy electric guitar riffing action. Rocking Horse sounds pretty much the same as the version featured on their debut EP, which makes me wonder if the actually re-recorded the track? It's still a solid composition nonetheless. The final track Tragic Catastrophe is easily my favorite part of this album, featuring a strong organ-driven melody that leaves me wanting to hear more from Purson.

The Circle & The Blue Door is a strong debut album by a band that clearly knows what they're doing and it leaves me with a sense that Purson can do no wrong by pursuing their retro style psychedelic rock sound. If you're into beautiful organ-driven rock music then this band is definitely gonna be up your alley!

***** star songs: Spiderwood Farm (5:09) Tempest And The Tide (5:06) Tragic Catastrophe (5:21)

**** star songs: Wake Up Sleepy Head (2:06) The Contract (4:11) Sailor's Wife's Lament (3:59) Leaning On A Bear (3:27) Mavericks And Mystics (3:48) Well Spoiled Machine (5:09) Sapphire Ward (5:02) Rocking Horse (4:25)

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars PURSON are from England and play sort of a Folk/Psych/Heavy style of Prog. They seem to be into the occult as far as lyrics go although they do well at making the words vague. And the name PURSON is demonic. So not surprisingly they get compared to BLOOD CEREMONY, COVEN and BLACK WIDOW. They have a retro sound with an abundance of mellotron from Rosalie's M400. She's also the singer. The tracks are all incredibly catchy but this just hasn't won me over.

"Wake Up Sleepy Head" opens with acoustic guitar as the mellotron flute joins in then reserved vocals. Some mellotron strings later. A short mellow tune to get us started. "The Contract" again has plenty of mellotron and it's also laid back with vocals but it kicks into gear before 1 1/2 minutes. I like these contrasts as they continue.

"Spiderweb Farm" is a top two track for me. Drums build as the guitar joins in. This is great! That familiar melody arrives with vocals around a minute. Such a catchy and powerful song. Again I like the contrasts as it does settle down at times. Fuzzed out guitar as she starts to speak words before 3 minutes. Then it kicks back in to that heavy sound with vocals. I really like the instrumental section after 4 minutes especially the guitar. Sounds like a circus melody put through a blender to end it.

"Sailor's Wife's Lament" opens with seagulls and water sounds as a melody arrives with laid back vocals. This is catchy and mellow. Mellotron flutes before 2 minutes and a minute later. A folky tune with the emphasis on the lyrics. This ends like the previous tune strangely enough. "Leaning On A Bear" has an uptempo CAMEL-like soundscape as the vocals join in. Catchy.

"Tempest And The Tide" has a beat with mellotron, guitar and vocals standing out early. Again a folky tune that's laid back. The mellotron 1 1/2 minutes in is so good. Kind of a cool ending the way they slow it down. "Mavericks And Mystics" is uptempo with vocals. A straight forward tune that does little for me. Again it's catchy and we get some brief mellotron to end it.

"Well Spoiled Machine" is the other top two for me. I just like the groove here and the depth of sound. Again it's so catchy especially on the chorus. The mellotron comes and goes. "Sapphire Ward" has more of the same really but I do like the organ and also the way they slow things down 1 1/2 minutes in with vocals, it kicks back in quickly though. Check out the mellotron after 2 1/2 minutes and the guitar that follows. Nice.

"Rocking Horse" is slowed down early on with vocals before turning more powerful just before a minute. Contrasts continue. Some mellotron at 1 1/2 minutes. "Tragic Catastrophe" opens with guitar expressions with bass before the drums, vocals and mellotron arrive. Not sure about the lyrics to this one but a disappointing ending to this album.

Take my rating with a grain of salt as this album appears to be very popular every where I looked. It's just me! I was sad to hear that the band recently broke up. Lastly I like that the powers that be here put this in Crossover. Most would think Folk or Psychedelic but man this is more than those two genres of music and it's so catchy.

Review by Warthur
5 stars Purson is one of those bands which is essentially the vehicle for the creative vision of a particular purson - er, I mean person. That purson - sorry, person - is singer-guitarist Rosalie Cunningham, the band's only constant member, and she's set her aesthetic sights firmly on the heavy prog-psych sound of the early 1970s.

The Circle and the Blue Door is an occult-tinged visit to a time when heavy metal, psychedelic rock, and prog hadn't quite diverged into three entirely distinct musical streams yet - an era where it made absolute sense for a label like Vertigo to have acts as diverse as Catapila, Affinity, and Black Sabbath on it and describe them all as "progressive rock".

As time passed the meaning of that term evolved, moved on, and was redefined, as the prog scene focused more on technical wizardry and compositional complexity and the proto-metal scene got shaken up by acts like Budgie or Judas Priest injecting more speed and aggression into the style. Cunningham, however, clearly knows her musical history and understands that there was a time when a heavy psych album could skip its way through early proto-prog/proto- metal territory as the whim took it.

We've seen this before, of course - Blood Ceremony base their entire schtick on it - but this debut album delivers this style in masterful fashion. There's an ugly tendency, especially in prog or metal circles, to question the credentials of frontwomen and to attribute most of the musical and compositional proficiency of a band to male band members, but it's absolutely clear from her guitar's prominence and from her lead role in the songwriting that Cunningham isn't just there for aesthetic reasons.

No, this is clearly music she believes in passionately, and by the time you're done listening you'll be a believer too. With those drum rolls, fuzzy guitar, and production touches, you might even believe that Purson were right there in 1971 opening for Jethro Tull or Black Widow.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Review by Matteo Bussotti Have you ever heard of Baroque 'n' Roll? No? Then you don't know about Purson! This band from London really, really put out an excellent album. I don't know how else to define it. Of course, I'll say this from the beginning: for definition, Purson's sound is nothing ... (read more)

Report this review (#1060418) | Posted by FemmeMetalWebzine | Tuesday, October 15, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#991693) | Posted by Cactus Choir | Thursday, July 4, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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