Prog Rock With A Smile On Its Face
When I first read about Purson’s psychedelic and prog leanings I had a vision of either a group producing a Rutles style pastiche or a group who were trying to recreate sixth form music of the late 60s and early 70s. (I well remember the sheer disorientation of Gong’s Flying Teapot album!)
. The (I assume) deliberately tongue in cheek titles like ‘Electric Landlady’ made me grin but hinted at the Rutles, so I approached the album with a lot of interest and a large amount of trepidation, but I needn’t have worried.
First things first, Purson are a superb band musically speaking. Their tight playing complements the Siouxsie and the Banshees style singing of Rosalie Cunningham. They have theatrical approach to music making building soundscapes that carry the listener along into their slightly off kilter world, using prog rock stylings but underpinning it with a great ear for a tune which their predecessors didn’t always have.
The title track ‘Desire’s Magic Theatre’ is a fuzzy, heavy track with a sound that mixes the psychedelic stylings of early Pink Floyd with a glam rock style guitar backing that starts the album off with a bang.
‘I know’ is a dreamy and trippy track, with occasional echoes of Double Fantasy era John Lennon, that just melts in to your ears with Cunningham’s beautiful and individual voice taking centre stage until a Procul Harum style organ solo takes over, before Cunningham’s vocals bring the track to a satisfying end.
These highlights apart, the overall impression that you’re left with is one of an album made with real affection for the source material. They may not be a group that will take the charts by storm but within their niche they are great fun and they would be a great act at any festival.