Purple - Bodacious

by Steve Ricciutti Rating:10 Release Date:2016-08-04

Purple’s intriguing mix of punk, funk, ska, and pop brings to mind a lot of artists, often depending upon who is handling vocals. The Texas trio has two singers, drummer Hanna Brewer and guitarist Taylor Busby. Whether handling things solo or combining to trade off, it gives a unique twist to each song, and for the most part, the band makes this work like a boss.

Brewer's voice has the sexy, playfulness of Gwen Stefani along with the dynamics of Karen O., but also demonstrates an ass-kicking primal scream like nobody (okay, well maybe Fetchin’ Bones Hope Nicholls with her Janis-meets-Iggy vibe). Busby’s voice is an odd country-hip/hop style, and a perfect compliment to his band mate.

“Mini Van,” an awesome track, proves just how well this vocal combination works. Sounding like Gwen Stefani guesting on an early Red Hot Chili Peppers cut, it’s a holla-back gem that has all the makings of a hit. The title track and “Money” are other highlights. All that’s well and good, but it’s the album’s biggest anomaly that also happens to be the best track as well.

That song, “Pretty Mouth,” has a relaxed reggae sound that showcases Brewer’s voice as well as the tightness of the band. It also hints at big time appeal, and that is where the band might find itself at a crossroad. On opener “Backbone,” Brewer wails, “My edge is all rough but you know I’m still trying” before exploding into a bunch of squealing yelps and a killer freak-out guitar solo from Busby. It’s pop-punk-funk bliss that also illuminates a critical juncture for the band. Indeed, where do Purple want to be in a year or three? Will it be continued accolades for their utilitarian ethos, or will they realize that embracing so many musical genres makes for great indie success, but polishing some of those edges makes things shine brighter?

Regardless of where they go after this, there’s no denying that Bodacious is the kind of fun and exuberant album that will add more than a few songs to your daily rotation. While this album isn’t perfect, it’s quite good for a second effort and indicates they are tacking towards greatness. Predicting success is such a hit or miss in today’s music environment, but this group seems perched on the cusp. 

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