The Purrs: Tearing Down Paisley Garden

RIYL: The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Velvet Underground, The Brian Jonestown Massacre

The Purrs Tearing Down Paisly GardenThere’s much to be said for a band like the Purrs, with ten years together and six solid releases under its belt. They might not be household names, but they’ve never compromised their music to raise their profile. This is where the music comes out ahead, and Tearing Down Paisley Garden is yet another winner.

At seven songs, Paisley is not quite an EP, though had it been released in 1972, it still might have been considered a full-length album. And then, looking at the makeup of the songs themselves, Paisley could even be called an “odds and ends” kind of collection. “Only Dreaming” and “I Move Around” are covers of songs by ’80s goth rockers Red Lorry Yellow Lorry and the late Nancy Sinatra collaborator Lee Hazlewood, respectively. And “Just a Little More” and “It Could Be So Wonderful” are new recordings of old songs, which explains the oddly out of time reference to “the president” in the former.

In spite of what could easily have been a set-up for a major bomb, Paisley plays like a strikingly cohesive collection, exhibiting all the Purrs trademarks – Jason Milne’s cutting lead guitar lines, Jima’s lackadaisically cool detachment and sarcastic wit, and that reverb-laden, psychedelic shoegazey sound married to seasoned pop songcraft. If there’s anything different about the Purrs this time around, it’s a subtle but noticeable uptick in their mood compared to last year’s excellent Amused, Confused and More Bad News that comes through even in a downer like “I’m Slipping” – which in this case keeps a song about sexual transgressions against a friend from devolving into a pity party. And in the case of the disc’s closing tune, “Always Something In My Way,” the title ends up coming across less as a complaint and more as a celebration of the challenges that would crush a lesser person. Clearly, these Seattle stalwarts are having more fun than ever, which is exactly how a good rock record should sound. (self released 2010)

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