As if being displaced in time, the ultra psychedelic Purson storm onto the scene with their first release via Spinefarm Records in Desire’s Magic Theatre. Their second album overall, Desire’s Magic Theatre is a statement that, in many cases, there are no better influences than the roots that run the thickest and deepest, cementing the godly tree of rock immovably from the planet.
Echoing titans both new and old (mostly old), Purson have pursued a pleasantly engaging sound that enraptures the listener and encapsulates literal decades of drug-addled, addiction-fueled psychedelica. We are introduced to Desire’s Magic Theatre with a chugging love letter to N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, better known as DMT (eh? eh?). This thematically sets up the rest of the album, showing exactly where the collective known as Purson have drawn influence from. Not necessarily the psychedelic itself, but the mere fact that DMT and other hallucinogens were oh-so-prevalent in the 1970s and 1980s and are largely responsible for so many musical movements—literal audible monuments that stand tall to this day and continue to garner respect and spread their tendrils of influence.
Desire’s Magic Theatre is one of those albums that’s just cool to listen to. It just feels good all the way through—kind of like doing drugs, actually. There isn’t a bad trip to be found throughout the record, with each song having this amiable vibe that is almost relaxing to listen to. The thick and funky fuzz to the bass will give you a recognizable tickle in the deepest parts of your stomach, while the exchanges between guitars and keyboards will slap a big ol’ grin on your face. The subdued, mellow drumming allows these elements to take priority, but the shining star in the ensemble is Rosalie Cunningham‘s warm voice tying it all together.
There are so many good friends that make Purson’s latest such a likable listen. The obvious homage to Jimi Hendrix on “Electric Landlady,” recalling The Jimi Hendrix Experience‘s third and final album, Electric Ladyland. The record even goes as far as to include a ragingly good saxophone part in “Pedigree Chums” and channeling the mighty Jethro Tull with liberal use of flute in “The Bitter Suite.” Funneling just a bit of all the greats from the acts mentioned already to Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Jefferson Airplane, Cream, even reaching to more modern acts like Sleep—the gang’s all here.
The major complaint you can levy against Desire’s Magic Theatre is that, aside from Cunningham’s beautiful warble, you’ll get the strangest feeling of déjà vu without necessarily being Denzel Washington (if you are Denzel Washington, thank you for reading). The familiar airy tones, the strange-yet-melodic juxtaposition of instruments, lyrical content that ranges from familiar, drug-induced sensibilities to the far-removed esoteric account—perfect fodder for this type of music. None of this is necessarily a bad thing, but to any listener with their fair share of experience with the perceptively stranger side of music at the advent of rock’n’roll, this album may seem a little too ordinary in too many places.
Desire’s Magic Theatre is a perfectly-concocted homage to (primarily) two of the most prominent decades in rock history and hugely benefits from and takes advantage of modern production magic that allows elements that would previously be hidden in a now-ancient mix to shine through and be appreciated. Purson may not be treading new ground, but the path they traverse is certainly taken with a stylish gait that commands appreciation.