CD Review: Purson – The Circle and the Blue Door

This is black magic hippie music right down to the album cover.


Review by David Feltman

It’s been four years since Ipso Facto broke up, but luckily Rosalie Cunningham never quit making music. Her iconic look and retro sound make her an ideal front woman and her new band, Purson, picks up where Ipso Facto left off. Purson combines folksy pastorals and hard rock psychedelics with a gothic edge. Landing somewhere between Jefferson Airplane and Black Sabbath, this is black magic hippie music right down to the album cover.

The band takes on several personas but manages to make everything hang together. The Circle and the Blue Door moves from wistful ballads to acid soaked, jam-happy hippie pop to Addams Family creep shows. “Spiderwood Farm” doubles down on the creep factor with backward playing carousel music, layered whispers and a heavy minor key riff that drives the song through the band’s meandering jams.

There’s also a strong literary quality to the album, with many songs relating a story. “Nights he so seldom appears, her hair’s turning grey with the fear,” sings Cunningham on “Sailor’s Wife’s Lament.” The band’s soft waltzing melody perfectly accentuates the melancholy narrative of a woman dying while waiting for her husband to return from his voyage.

Purson proves to be a promising project for Cunningham. The band may be drawing its inspiration from the past, but the music is clever and imaginative. There is a proclivity toward jamming that makes some of the songs last longer than they should, but the band’s energy makes this easier to forgive. Purson’s hypnotic psychedelia is irresistible.

Learn more about Purson on their official website and on Facebook.

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