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If You Buy One Album Out This Week, Make It…

Desire’s Magic Theatre – Purson

You only want glam-free, everyman rock? Look away. Look away now. Everyone else? Listen in for the some of the most stylish rock’n’roll fun going. London-based Purson have steadily lured listeners in with their brand of “vaudeville carny psych” (their words) since forming in 2011. And the the best stage attire the 60s/70s never had. Now, with their second LP, they’ve gone bigger and better on all fronts.

This is Purson in full technicolour, essentially. All the late 60s-early 70s fantasies of (founder) Rosalie Cunningham are realised with slick, unhindered enthusiasm. A sumptuous, velvet-laden affair, Desire’s Magic Theatre rolls gothic, pop, prog and classic rock into one lavish, psychedelic cabaret – brass and orchestral elements included. Influences are clear and classy (without being hackneyed or ripped off); The Beatles, Led Zep, early Black Sabbath, Ziggy-era Bowie… We’re talking luxury vintage rock here, down to the last carefully applied eyeliner flick.

Certain highlights have featured in their live set for a while now. Accordingly, existing fans will find Electric Landlady and Mr Howard pleasingly familiar inclusions. Elsewhere Pedigree Chums plays like a really dark Moulin Rouge crossed with ELP prog, and the sense of the record as a psychedelic rock opera grows through classic-sounding riffs and lyrical mystique.

Luxury retro rock escapism, with the hooks and tunes to back it up. Great stuff.

Purson: Desire’s Magic Theatre

Polly is Features Editor at Classic Rock magazine, where she commissions regular pieces and longer reads (including new band coverage) and writes a few things. She also writes for Louder, Prog and Metal Hammer, and talks about songs on the 20 Minute Club podcast. In her spare time she writes fiction and cooks.