Hardcore fans of the Purrs should saunter away from this eponymous set tout suite; they've already got everything on it. It may be a little early in the day for a compilation album, as the band only has two EPs and a sole, self-released full-length to its name, but there you go. The Purrs bundles up seven tracks off that latter set, and two numbers -- "Ebb & Flow" and "Because I Want To" from No Particular Bar, No Particular Town, the band's second EP. As frontman Jima quips, "Think of this as our Greatest Hits, if we had a hit." Better really to think of it as a much welcomed introduction to a rising star, and something to plug during a national tour. Like any self-respecting cat, this band is defiantly unique, which hasn't stopped the group from being compared with the likes of the Verve and Galaxie 500, while Jima himself has been dubbed "the second coming of Richard Ashcroft." All of which rather neglects the band's obvious rockabilly roots, which underpin every single one of the songs here, even "Loose Talk," which sounds like the sonic love child of the Byrds and the Flamin' Groovies. "The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of," in contrast, has all the majesty of "Free Bird"; "Connect the Dots" has all the whomp of down and dirty blues; "Ebb & Flow" washes up in a Louisiana Delta; "Get on with Your Life" brings a touch of Spain to the blues; and "Because I Want To" is a staunch reminder of how even bands like the Velvet Underground were beholden to the riffs of R&B and the blues. The guitar work is phenomenal throughout, the rhythm section tight, and Jima's vocals sound roughened by too much whiskeys and Marlboros, his delivery jaundiced by it all. Which brings us to the production and the Purrs' superb use of organs, equally responsible for those Verve and Galaxy references. Because over the bluesy, R&B, and rockabilly cores, the group lather their songs in a density of sound and swirling atmospheres that pull them towards shoegazer territory. Take that away, and critics would be exclaiming that Big Star had risen again. It's a phenomenally inspired blend of styles, beautifully smudging together seemingly disparate genres to create a hybrid sound that has to be heard to be believed. Add in the band's incredibly strong melodies, fabulous musicianship, and their myriad textures and moods, and maybe Jima is right, this really is their Greatest Hits set.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jo-Ann Greene