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  Tearing Down Paisley Garden  
  The Purrs  
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EvilSponge has been following Seattle's The Purrs for many years now. In fact, this is the fifth Purrs release that i have reviewed, and it is one of their best to date. It is the follow-up to 2009's Amused, Confused & More Bad News, which was the most hit-or-miss of their albums. On that record, The Purrs seemed to be unsure of whether or not they wanted to go in a more slow blues direction, or continue to make noisy Britpop.

The very first song on Tearing Down Paisley Garden answers that question in a most satisfactory manner. The Purrs kick things off with Only Dreaming, which is a cover of a song originally by Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry. RLYL were a somewhat obscure English goth act of the 1980s. I never really got into them that much, but some of the goth kids i went to high school with were really into them... The Purrs take this vaguely goth-y tune and turn it into a noisy, psychedelic romp. The guitars really soar here, and vocalist Jima does his best to sing in a disaffected goth manner.

The Purrs start off the next track, Just A Little More with one guitar strumming forcefully and the other tremoloing away. This song really hearkens back to Don't Stop Kicking Me Down off of 2005's The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of. This is nice, slow, psychedelic pop.

It Could Be So Wonderful is more of a rocker, with the front layer of guitar grinding away under a nice layer of distortion, while the under layer chimes lightly. On the choruses, the band suddenly harmonize in bright sunshiny pop. Seriously -- when did The Purrs start channeling The Monkees? This might be the poppiest thing that they have ever done. Why is this not a hit?

The Purrs slow things down with I'm Slipping. This is along the veins of the slow blues numbers that dominated the previous record. Here, it comes across more like a slowcore pop song. Jima sings mournfully, and the guitars whine along mopily. And then, on the chorus it becomes a catchy dreampop song. The guitars soar, and there are even backing vocals behind Jima. It's a really lovely little tune.

The speed picks up a little with Pie In The Sky. Here, the guitarists do their best to channel The Church, really playing in that two layered Wilson-Piper and Koppes manner, one guitar strumming away and the other playing distorted notes. It moves along at a good pace, and is a decent song. It Could Be So Wonderful does the same thing better, but still this is not a bad tune.

The second cover on the album is next: I Move Around which was originally by Lee Hazelwood. (He was a country singer-songwriter in the 60s, apparently.) The dueling guitarwork of The Purrs is pretty well suited to this type of music, and it comes across pretty well. The lyrics are typical mournful country, but Jima sings them progressively more maniacally as he sings about the places he had been. I am in no way familiar with the original, but The Purrs have made this into a song of neurotic escapism, and it really works.

Finally, the album ends with Always Something In My Way, another mid-paced number. This one doesn't rock, but it gets the job done. Jima sings in an almost whiney manner, which is a little unusual for him, while someone adds wordless backing vocals. (The backing vocals are something i have never noticed in the work of The Purrs before. Are they new, or just more noticeable on this record? Hmmm...) Meanwhile, the guitars chime along. It is a satisfying end to the record.

Overall, this is a tight little album. It clocks in at just over half an hour, so it is almost an EP. Whatever. The Purrs have impressed once again.

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Also on EvilSponge:
   EP: No Particular Bar, No Particular Town
   Album: The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of
   Album: The Chemistry That Keeps Us Together
   Album: Amused, Confused & More Bad News


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