PURSON — Desire's Magic Theatre (review)

PURSON — Desire's Magic Theatre album cover Album · 2016 · Non-Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Having blown me away with their debut album The Circle and the Blue Door (2013), UK psychedelic rockers Purson, led by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Rosalie Cunningham, had really got their career going in a big way. In the time between the debut and this follow-up, Desire's Magic Theatre (2016) the band has set out to achieve a more stable line-up, and released the EP In the Meantime (2014) which served as something as a tide-over between the two albums.

In hindsight it's clear that In the Meantime also serves as something of a transitional release from Purson, as Desire's Magic Theatre is largely a different sounding album to The Circle and the Blue Door. While the previous was primarily a heavy psych album that put the band on a similar page to the likes of Blood Ceremony and Jess and the Ancient Ones, with Desire's Magic Theatre Purson have dropped a lot of their more hard rocking elements. They've become even more psychedelic because of that and also been able to use different elements in their sound such as folksy flutes and even jazzy saxophones, but it's the sort of shift that will no doubt come with the price of disappointing some fans of The Circle and the Blue Door, though in turn it will probably also win Purson a few new ones.

Early single Electric Landlady is the closest that Desire's Magic Theatre comes to the sound of The Circle and the Blue Door. The majority of the album takes a much softer direction. While it's still a very accomplished work worthy of heaps of praise with standout tracks being Pedigree Chums, The Sky Parade and The Bitter Suite, I was personally hoping to hear more in the vein of Electric Landlady. The previous album was hardly hard rocking all the way through, so I'd have liked to have heard more balance between the two extremes of Purson's sound again.

This is a still a very good album from Purson, all at once both pleasant and wacky and with great vocals from Cunningham. I can see myself chalking up many listens to it, but I don't find it has the same kind of addicting quality that kept me going back to The Circle and the Blue Door time after time again.
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666sharon666 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Good review, I agree completely. I still like this quite a lot but I played Electric Landlady off of Spotify so many times when it was released and was expecting an album more in the same vein. It's good that they haven't made the same album twice I guess, but it doesn't sit with my tastes as well as their first did.


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