Hailing from London, Purson is a five-piece band that seems very displaced, sounding like an amalgamation of 60’s folk and 70’s heavy metal with pinches of classic prog influences. Self described as “vaudeville carny psych”, the band has jut released their debut album The Circle And The Blue Door via Metal Blade Records, a somewhat interesting choice yet oddly fitting. But does the group pull off this style or does it fall short as something campy and trite? Find out below!
The album begins with “Wake Up Sleepy Head”, a mellow acoustic track with gentle flutes and synths. It immediately reminded me of something off an early King Crimson album. The song then flowed effortlessly into “The Contract”, which begins with a driving bass riff and eerie effected guitars. It is here that singer Rosalie Cunningham dives into the full theatricality of the music with soaring and engrossing vocals.
It is in “Spiderwood Farm” that the vaudeville carny aspect becomes readily apparent. The track is highly engaging and it is obvious that the band had a great deal of fun putting this track together. The album then slows a bit with “Sailor Wife’s Lament”, adding in beauty and calm to give the listener a brief respite after the insanity of the previous track.
Towards the end of the album, “Rocking Horse” is delightfully spine-chilling, a nightmarish lullaby waltz that hypnotizes with sublime instrumentation. The album then ends with “Tragic Catastropher”, which, much like the story of Goldilocks, is neither too fast nor too slow. It adds just enough intrigue and mystery to leave listeners wanting more.
Were I to compare The Circle And The Blue Door to a horror movie, it would probably be 1976’s Carrie, the intense rockers mirroring the violence of the film while the gentle, softer tracks have an almost dreamlike quality about them. Additionally, the feel and atmosphere of the album makes it seem like a perfect accompaniment to Palma’s classic film.
The Final Word: With The Circle And The Blue Door, Purson has added dashes of eeriness and horror to classic prog rock and created something very thrilling and intriguing. While not a flawless album, it is something I can easily see myself coming back to and enjoying with regularity.