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CD REVIEW: Purrr - Purrr
By Alex Jasperse - 08/14/2008 - 09:13 AM EDT

Artist: Band: Purrr
Album: Purrr [2007]
Label: Independent
Genre: Electronc Rock and Dance Rock
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7.0/10
Songwriting Skills: 7.0/10
Performance Skill: 7.0/10
CD Review:

Angled for the mainstream with dark, electro-influenced tracks, Toronto’s Purrr makes the familiar sound strange once again. And while their self-titled album feels as though it’s nearly 15 years too late, the return to the fierce high-octane beats of the 90s makes for an enjoyable bombastic headbanging experience.

The passion in Purrr’s music is undeniable, and as soon as “Space’ kicks off the album, you can feel the synthesis of the sounds of The Prodigy and Nine Inch Nails come together within the distorted vocal and guitar lines. A saxophone insert around the midway point welcomes in an 80s synth brass riff that seconds later comes to a complete halt. Feeling as though everything just packed up and left, female vocals drift in, and the sax line reappears to remind you that you’re still listening to the same song.

Shifting from big-beat revival to actual drum set, “Save Rock’n’Roll” and “Redlight” allow lead singer Sam Crush to take the spotlight and showcase his vocal prowess and hyperactive phrasing. Breathing more live into the synth mechanics with snarling organic sounds, the gritty minimalist shift does make up for the fact that both pieces are a little too AFI-esque with their call-to-mosh vibes.

Deviating from the flow of the album, wandering synths wrap around the listener, effortlessly pulling them into the depths of “Spitfire’s” simple acoustic guitar ascension that’s darkened by a distant drumbeat pulsating beneath. As a dense backdrop for Crush to expand his vocal abilities, it is convincingly vulnerable at points and becomes rather moving.

Returning to the same sonic finesse of the first track, “Want” exudes a Trent Reznor texture, making it feel as though Crush is plotting his next statement word by word on the fly – forcing the instrumentals to become subservient to his impromptu creativity. Building on the momentum in the previous track, although slower, Crush’s vocals begin to drift – occasionally dissolving back into their own echoes – in “Without You.” It’s a brilliant twist on the ‘pop’ structure: when it feels as though it’s ready to climax into a guitar-laden passage, it side steps to take on a pulsating IDM beat.

If the clichéd title doesn’t sum up “Open Your Eyes,” then the immediately familiar structure will make it instantly forgettable. Big beats. Same words. Next. Not even the quick ethno-flared vocals, screeching cars, (overused) Neil Armstrong sample and electro-guitar blasts can resuscitate this one. And it’s highly recommended to keep your finger on the next button, because the last track, “Spitfire (Extended Version),” becomes lost in a mindless seven-minute synth expedition that for the sanctity of the rest of the album should be shot down as soon as possible.

Even with a few points of contention, Purrr consistently performs with a fiery intensity that makes them a highly enjoyable electronic rock group. Their attention to detail is well thought out, and the album’s ability to flirt with elements of mainstream pop, edgy punk and electronic rock (while injecting an adventurous attitude and excitement into their pieces), certainly makes them a standout in their genre. Both familiar and intriguing, Purrr’s debut is definitely worth checking out.

For more information, please visit Purrr’s official website.

The Verdict: 7.0/10

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