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 Glass
Deputy Editor, Classic Rock

Polly is deputy editor at Classic Rock magazine, where she writes and commissions regular pieces and longer reads (including new band coverage), and has interviewed rock's biggest and newest names. She also contributes to Louder, Prog and Metal Hammer and talks about songs on the 20 Minute Club podcast. Elsewhere she's had work published in The Musician, delicious. magazine and others, and written biographies for various album campaigns. In a previous life as a women's magazine junior she interviewed Tracey Emin and Lily James – and wangled Rival Sons into the arts pages. In her spare time she writes fiction and cooks.