PURSON

Heavy Psych / Non-Metal • United Kingdom
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Purson was a heavy psych band from Southend-on-Sea in the United Kingdom with progressive rock influences. The band was formed in 2011 by vocalist/guitarist Rosalie Cunningham after the demise of her previous band, Ipso Facto, who played psychedelic pop/rock.

Purson's first release was the EP Rocking Horse in 2012. Following this Purson then released their debut album The Circle and the Blue Door in April 2013. The album received critical acclaim including being ranked at number 15 on Metal Hammer's best albums of 2013 chart and being voted as the best new band and best debut of 2013 in Terrorizer's reader polls, as well as placing at 11 in the magazine's critics choices for the year.

Purson split from Rise Above Records afterwards. Their next release was the 2014 EP In the Meantime, now released through Machine Elf Records.

- Biography by adg211288 (Updated October 2014)
Thanks to adg211288 for the addition

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Desire's Magic Theatre [Deluxe Edition]Desire's Magic Theatre [Deluxe Edition]
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Spinefarm 2016
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Desire's Magic Theatre [LP]Desire's Magic Theatre [LP]
Spinefarm 2016
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Circle & the Blue DoorCircle & the Blue Door
Rise Above 2013
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Leaning on a BearLeaning on a Bear
IMPORTS 2013
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Desire's Magic TheatreDesire's Magic Theatre
Spinefarm Records 2016
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Desire's Magic TheatreDesire's Magic Theatre
Spinefarm Records 2016
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PURSON Discography

PURSON albums / top albums

PURSON The Circle and the Blue Door album cover 4.85 | 6 ratings
The Circle and the Blue Door
Heavy Psych 2013
PURSON Desire's Magic Theatre album cover 3.98 | 6 ratings
Desire's Magic Theatre
Non-Metal 2016

PURSON EPs & splits

PURSON Rocking Horse album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Rocking Horse
Heavy Psych 2012
PURSON In the Meantime album cover 4.50 | 2 ratings
In the Meantime
Non-Metal 2014

PURSON live albums

PURSON demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

PURSON Death's Kiss album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Death's Kiss
Non-Metal 2014

PURSON re-issues & compilations

PURSON singles (4)

.. Album Cover
4.50 | 1 ratings
Leaning on a Bear
Heavy Psych 2013
.. Album Cover
4.50 | 1 ratings
The Contract
Heavy Psych 2013
.. Album Cover
3.75 | 2 ratings
Electric Landlady
Heavy Psych 2015
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
Desire's Magic Theatre
Non-Metal 2016

PURSON movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

PURSON Reviews

PURSON Desire's Magic Theatre

Album · 2016 · Non-Metal
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Warthur
We'd seen strong hints on The Circle and the Blue Door that the retro stylings of Purson included a strong interest in the prog-psych boundary - that intriguing sound that existed in the late 1960s and early 1970s when progressive rock still hadn't quite disentangled itself from the artier end of the psychedelic scene.

On Desire's Magic Theatre, Rosalie Cunningham and her cohorts steer Purson away from the heavier territory of their debut album in order to more deeply explore the different nooks and crannies of that era, whilst delivering an album which applies modern production values and the benefit of some five decades' hindsight to the material. Jazz, Tull-esque flute, disorienting psychedelia and a small epic in the closing Bitter Suite finds Purson going from strength to strength. Due to its exploratory nature, it doesn't quite feel like it's hanging together as well as the debut album did, but the musical evolution on display is appreciable.

PURSON The Circle and the Blue Door

Album · 2013 · Heavy Psych
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Warthur
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.

PURSON Desire's Magic Theatre

Album · 2016 · Non-Metal
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Nightfly
When I first came across Purson a couple of years back, particularly with the name I was expecting another outfit in the vein of the current trend of female fronted occult heavy rock bands. I think one of the first things I heard was Leaning On A Bear from their debut “The Circle And The Blue Door” which didn’t dispel my original pre-conception but on hearing their debut in full it became apparent that Purson whilst sharing the psych tendencies of many of those bands were heading down a different road and a much more commercial proposition with an emphasis on catchy melodies. Sure, they had the heavier moments but they sat alongside retro pop a la sixties – early seventies style.

Desire’s Magic Theatre takes a further step away from heavy rock and is much more of a psychedelic progressive pop album in the vein of the Small Faces Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake and The Beatles Sgt Pepper. Very much rooted in the sixties it reminds me of Thursday evenings as a child sat watching Top Of The Pops. This was in the days when you could be commercial and innovative at the same time. The album works best as a whole and full of catchy songs like the Glitter Band stomp of opening title track which could be what Goldfrapp might sound like if they used traditional instruments, that is until it shifts into more of a swing vein augmented by complimentary organ and flute work. Also high on my likes list is Mr Howard which from a Chicory Tip (Son Of My Father fame) opening goes into a trippy psych workout. Electric Landlady is about as heavy as it gets, which could have sat comfortably on their debut. Album Closer, The Bitter Suite stretches things out to seven minutes and twists and turns through many changes and is a snapshot of most of what this band is about. Frontwoman Rosalie Cunningham, a fine vocalist, is clearly in charge here and has a strong vision of how she wants her band to sound. In fact she plays most of the instruments herself barring drums and some guitar and bass work on a few tracks, presumably the rest of the band being there for live purposes only. Something that being a musician myself I would take objection too.

Purson are quite unique in today’s music scene, which sounds a bit contradictory when they sound totally retro but there’s not really anyone else I know of that are doing this kind of stuff these days. Fans of heavier music may find them a bit too poppy but if your tastes also stretch into prog and pop territory then you may find much to enjoy here. Desire’s Magic Theatre is a very good album which I enjoy very much but with no real killer tracks standing out I’m not blown away by it – pretty much like their debut in that respect, the superb Spiderwood Farm aside, the bands highpoint to this day.

PURSON Desire's Magic Theatre

Album · 2016 · Non-Metal
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adg211288
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.

PURSON Rocking Horse

EP · 2012 · Heavy Psych
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adg211288
Rocking Horse (2012) is the debut EP release by UK heavy psych act Purson. Purson were formed by frontwoman Rosalie Cunningham after the demise of her previous outfit Ipso Facto. I haven't heard that band but research tells me that they were more in a psychedelic pop/rock vein. Purson therefore can be seen as Rosalie turning things up a notch.

Rocking Horse contains four tracks, two of which were rerecorded and reappeared on the band's debut full-length album The Circle and the Blue Door (2013), those being the two bookending tracks which are the title track and Spiderwood Farm respectively. The other two songs, Twos and Ones, and Wool have remained exclusive to this EP. I happen to consider the debut album a masterpiece so it's not really fair to single out any tracks from it as inherently better than others but I can say that Spiderwood Farm is my personal favourite. The version here is notable shorter than the album version (3:30 compared to 5:09) but it's still easy to get addicted to. The two versions of Rocking Horse are much closer to each other though the main different between these early takes and the final versions from The Circle and the Blue Door is that they're aren't as polished, which is only to be expected. They're still very good though. It's clear that Purson kicked off their career in high gear.

Twos and Ones and Wool though are pretty good songs as well and make the EP worthwhile to fans of the following album. Wool even has a claim on being the band's heaviest song. Very fuzzy with a chugging riff. It's the closest that the band has come to crossing into metal territory to my ears but even though they're not a metal band, as with The Circle and the Blue Door, I don't see Rocking Horse having trouble appealing to metalheads as well as psych fans.

Since half of the EP was redone on the debut album Rocking Horse isn't the most essential release to track down but on a musical basis this is easily worth a high end 4 stars. If was polished up to album standard then my score would be even higher.

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