Purling Hiss - Water On Mars

by Amy Putman Rating:9 Release Date:2013-03-18

I'd like you to take a moment to think about moss. Yes, you read correctly: Moss. That short, green, curly stuff which asses on lawns and lounges in shades across the planet, basically doing the plant equivalent of the activities of rock fans, clumping together at moist festivals and hanging out in the dim beauties of bars and clubs. Did you know that there are roughly 12,000 species of moss? Blows the mind, my friend, blows... the... mind.

Seriously underrated stuff, moss. Trampled on by many, looked at by few. Nevertheless, take a minute next time you're near some moss and really have a look at the stuff. It's lush, verdant, intricate, tenacious and beautiful. Delicately slick, its relaxed tendrils reach out into the dusk, glowing with rich tones of life like a frilly Priapus who'd painted himself green to bone some dryads.

So with that in your mind, imagine this shrunken-down rainforest of Bryophyta rising up into human form, like a less-leafy Green Man, all birth of farming year and pagan drunkenness. He stands, flexes, stretches, farts, and then shakes himself into his final form. His curly hair bounces long and luscious in a last ray of light... Ooh... Just give me a second...

My point is this: Imagine that this spirit of moss, this expression of moist green velvet life is a stone-cold rock hottie. Tall, strong, virile, stack-full of talent, gall, and spunk, he strides off to find a guitar, some gin (I know it's not very rock n' roll, but in my head-imagining-fantasy-space-thing, all attractive men drink gin) and some groupies. Like a fuzzy, green Jim Morrison spliced with a curly, emerald Jimi Hendrix cut with frondose Steven Tyler and lime Slash (which sounds like a nasty infection. Perhaps I should have said lightly vegetally tentacular Slash. Herbal Slashthulu). Off he goes into the hills of the horizon to swyve nymphs, snort orchid pollen, and create the best riffs the trees have ever heard.

If he had a slightly more chilled-out but no less talented twin brother, then that brother would be the sound of Purling Hiss. Brimming full of natural talent and throbbing with well-paced vibes at once original and stock-rock (though I admit there may be a dash of punk and a tiny indie twist), these guys are back-archingly good. 'Lolita' and the title track are personal favourites.

The tunes are strident but carefully rendered, and allow the vocals to really shine among the generally excellent music of the entire album. Lyrics are perceptive but playful, opening up as if to reveal something, then dancing back after only just a glimpse, like a bashful flasher. This album has roots in everything from Jerry Lee Lewis to Jefferson Airplane, via the best of the early 1990s.

One last thought: In Finland, in times of severe famine, they baked bread from moss. That doesn't really have anything to do with this review. I just think moss is pretty darn cool. Actually, that's exactly my point; Purling Hiss: pretty darn cool.

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