Review: Purson – ‘The Circle & The Blue Door’

By Alle Royale

For the few who still don’t know, Rise Above is a British record label, propriety of Lee Dorrian of Cathedral. In the last twenty years Rise Above has been raising its profile to the point of becoming a real beacon for anything doom, hard and progressive coming from the underground scene. The quality of its roster is so revered that people started sweating cold when big announcements were made for the debut of Purson: a singular group of British psych pixies, responsible for one of the best albums of the year so far.

‘The Circle & The Blue Door’ is a musical journey of magical proportions and riveting results; from the dreamy acoustic coils of ‘Wake Up Sleepy Head’ to the epic evolution of closing number, ‘Tragic Catastrophe’, you will find yourself soaring through the spires of Purson’s psychedelic cathedral. Master of ceremonies is Rosalie Cunningham who, together with ex partner Ed Turner, wrote and arranged all the tracks, singing and playing electric and acoustic guitars, mellotron and organ. For once, fortunately, we are not in presence of the usual Vol 4’pupils; but imagine of laying under an old oak tree, surrounded by its branches, from whose bark you could smell the sap of timeless folk melodies and progressive instrumental passages. The oak tree is deeply rooted in the proto-prog substratum of the late sixties, with hints of Jethro Tull’s darker and more challenging episodes; on the counterbalance, the way the organ grooves is reminiscent of The Doors, and even some British glam flavour could be traced in the catchiness of the melodies. All these things considered, it’s like being brought back to a time when popular music, rock, jazz, and a spoon of magic was thrown altogether in the cauldron of creativity.

‘The Circle & The Blue Door’ is an album of lights and shades, a rare gift indeed in these days or sterile and flat productions. I’m glad those times of experimentation are back again for us to enjoy, and thankful to Purson, one of the finest examples in the way the tradition is still relentlessly breathing life into the new.

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