The Purrs – The Purrs

The Purrs
The Purrs

Ambition is a dangerous thing for a band. Have too much, and you think you are better than you are. Have too little, and your playing Possum Ridge, Arkansas this weekend. The Purrs seem to have just the right amount, on their first release on an actual record label. The album is a combination of the best of two independantly released albums, and it is gold. Just how far The Purrs can go all depends on how far the want to go. And as they say, “These are the dreams, stuff is made of.”

The Seattle based band has taken it’s favorite parts of shoegaze, Britpop, California surf pop, and made a near transcendant record. But what they have compiled together are nine gems of rock and roll theology, and made them their own. Starting with the quirky guitar line from “She’s Gone” to the tender noise ballad of “Don’t Stop Kicking Me Down” the album is a near modern classic, filled with tunes, desire, energy, and a hint of ambition that says, “Yeah, we’re here. We’re good. Deal with it.”

With a myriad of things going through my mind, I try to focus on my assignment. This week: The Purrs self titled album. “Hmmm…no press release…weird”, I think to myself. “Anyway, let’s put this on. Interesting, nice riff. A good singer.” Good signs all, but it’s not until I finish the CD that I feel as though this is a good album. Damn near great. The Purrs could go places.

“She’s Gone” is a perfect opener to the album, as it introduces the sound of the band perfectly. A jangly guitar riff, some swirling sonics, and an incredibly catchy tune. This could be a single, but not the first one. “The Dreams Our Stuff is Made Of” is the best Britpop ballad I have heard since “The Drugs Don’t Work”. All swirling guitars, and a nice lyrical twist. The hook is driven home by lead singer Jima’s soaring falsetto. The trend continues with the slow burn of “Connect the Dots”. The song starts in a shoegazer mode, before quickly turning itself into one of the most memorable songs on the album. “She falls apart all the time/So don’t be late for the show/She’s begging you for a dime/She’s feeling so low, yeah she’s really let herself go” and then we get takeoff.

“Loose Talk” starts off list the lost REM single, all jangly guitars and ”la, la, la, la’s” before the barnburner chorus of “Let me tell you ’bout the loose talk/Ticking time bomb/Needs a reaction/Get my opinion ’bout/Living in this town/With it’s distractions/Got you spinning around, and around, and around.” “Ebb & Flow” does just what the title suggests. It is a song the Verve should have made during A Storm in Heaven. More swirling guitar figures, and a shuffling beat. “Because I Want To” features another so simple it’s great riff, with Jima’s voice cutting through the sound, “Do you think you could see it my way?” “The Taste of Monday” is a nonsensical power pop number, except that damn guitar noise keeps you from dismissing it as such. “Get on With Your Life” has a great picked guitar opening, but it is the weakest track on the album, and the song is pretty damn okay. All of this leads to “Don’t Stop Kicking me Down”. A fitting end to the album, it features everything the Purrs are: noise, hooks, and a great arrangement.

The album is slightly long (its nine songs run nearly 50 minutes), but I can’t really think of somewhere you can cut it. The album maintains its feel, despite some different production flourishes on different tracks, leaving those without feeling empty. The Purrs are here, and they aren’t going anywhere. One of my favorite things about this job is hearing a band’s debut album, and instantly wanting to hear what they will do next. The Purrs makes me feel that way. And that is a good feeling.