The Jazz Age

The Jazz Age


You know old people. Keep going on about the past and dribbling on about things you've never heard of and never even bloody well wanted to...

YOU KNOW OLD PEOPLE. KEEP GOING on about the past and dribbling on about things you’ve never heard of and never even bloody well wanted to. Anyway, a few generations back there was a mini-explosion of big-hearted bands with a propensity for singing gloomy tunes and making videos on glaciers. Good news for anyone who liked wearing pointy black suede shoes and looking a bit pissed off, and a fine starting point for any Puressence review.

For theirs is the sound of chord-thrashing alienation and of bass-drilling isolation. Not so much narcotic overdose as pure guitar overload, the Mancunians’ second album reveals a band who are stoutly refusing to become the new Dodgy. [I]”Stuck in a hole, I can’t see any way out”[/I],[I] [/I]howls one James Mudriczki during – wait for it – ‘Hey Hey I’m Down’. [I]”How does it feel when you’re all on your own?” [/I]he teases merrily in – hold on to your sides – ‘It Doesn’t Matter Anymore’. [I]”All I want to do is snuff you out”[/I],[I] [/I]he gurgles in, uh, ‘All I Want’.

Verily, ’tis a bulging barrel of laughs falling down a flight of hysterical monkeys around [I]chez[/I] Puressence. Or not, as the case may be. Expansive and bloody expensive, ‘Only Forever’ (tastily ethereal title, thanks) is a bludgeoning headrush of spectral guitar lines and acrobatic vocals made by a band who sound not a thrillion yards from Geneva on steroids. As records go, it is beautifully made. As vibes go, it is surprisingly aggressive. As jobs go, it is surely better to play sweeping melodies rather than be out sweeping roads.

So it’s crass, but endearing in its own cocky little way. Take the melodrama of ‘Street Lights’, the Chameleons-esque mannerisms of ‘Standing In Your Shadow’ and the impeccable posturing of ‘It Doesn’t Matter Anymore’ and you have a rock-solid foundation for an album which then promptly decides to suffer from a lack of varied tricks. Because while there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with pounding through a song like ‘Turn The Light Out When I Die’, you still get the somewhat humorous urge to point out that life can be about being cheeky as well as standing in the rain sucking in your cheekbones. So we will.

So as the foursome crash into the grand finale that is ‘Gazing Down’ and hit a naggingly familiar late-’80s groove and then smother it in snotty Squire-tastic freterama you come to the sad but inevitable conclusion that yes, Puressence are some kind of resurrection…