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Various - Live At Purr

  by Anthony Dhanendran

published: 19 / 11 / 2005

Various - Live At Purr
Label: Purr
Format: CD


Superb compilation album from Bath label and club Purr, which chronicles two nights of live gigs featuring some of the best acts on their roster

For five years the boys from Purr, based at Moles Club in Bath, have been putting on increasingly acclaimed nights featuring up-and-coming mainly guitar-based bands. Now firmly ensconced as a fixture on the indie touring circuit, Purr have decided to celebrate in the best way indie nights they know how – by putting out an album. This one, however, differs from the standard celebratory album for a label or a night. Instead of cataloguing the hits through the years and looking backwards, this is a document of two nights in the life of the club. April 28, 2005, saw the Fog Band, Pete and the Pirates, Panic Attack and Manic Cough play, while the following month, on May 26, Snow White, Comanechi, Tiger Force and Wet Dog graced the floorboards. The whole thing comes as a two-disc package – the first is a 19-track CD featuring tracks from all eight of the bands from these two nights, and the second disc is a DVD of the two shows, featuring most of the other songs from the sets, which aren’t on the CD. As far as the CD is concerned, things kick off with Manic Cough, a band in the style of a punked-up Sleeper. That’s not a bad thing – they rattle along with an invigorating pace and energy, and they share a gift for melody in amongst the rattle with the best Britpop bands. The Fog Band are a more laid back affair, with a lugubrious, relaxed singer, even when they are thrashing out the chords. The best comparison on what they call their ‘slow one’ – the third track, 'The Cummerbund Years' – is with the Divine Comedy – the singer’s voice isn’t as distinctive as Neil Hannon’s, but the lyrics are certainly up to scratch. The other two songs are faster affairs, but the singer’s growly drawl manages to rein in the impulse to speed and keeps a lid on things. Tiger Force are an electronics-led outfit whose first track, 'T.I.G.E.R.F.O.R.C.E. Anthem', starts off with a bare bass line and takes some two minutes to develop into a full-blown shouting match. The overall effect is somewhere along the lines of Alec Empire crossed with Bis, if you will. Their second offering, 'We Start the Fires that Stop Fires', is in the same vein, and similarly frenetic. Park Attack feature yelpy vocals over a bassy rhythm line. The effect is hypnotic, if only for a short while. The second half of the disc kicks off with Wet Dog, another girl-led band, with 60's-influenced vocal lines. It’s a nice refresher after the relative gloom of the last three bands. 'Trehorne Beach Song' has a boxy drum beat that drives the song’s decent melody. 'Zah und Zaheet' isn’t quite as upbeat but it’s still danceable, and 'Steal A Car' shows an ability with more complex songs. Snow White are more, well, shouty, and thrashy, but in a good way. Second track ‘It’s Not Art, It’s Paedophile Porn’ shows that they can hold the whole thing together and come out with a good song at the end, though. Comanechi combine two of the running themes from the rest of the CD – a thrashy sensibility with a female vocal, nicely offsetting the dull thuds of the guitars with an edge of steel. Finally, adhering to the old cliché of saving the best till last, Purr have left Pete and the Pirates to the end. ‘Electric’ is a mélange of the 60's and the 90's, with a Tremeloes or early Beatles-beat and vocals from a more recent era. The final track, 'Saviour', drags things forward around ten years, beat-wise, with a New York punk backbeat and similarly drunken vocals. It works, somehow. Many compilations suffer from an identity problem, but this one is tight and well-held-together, reflecting the nature of the Purr night. And for a live album recorded at an indie night, the sound quality is surprisingly good. It’s an excellent introduction to Purr, as well as a document of eight proponents of today’s sound.

Track Listing:-

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