You know what I like about the Purrs? Among their many charms, they have cars in their songs. Cars to take you to the place where everything’s going down and cars to escape after you’ve had enough. Out here in the wide open west, contrary to the current political winds, you need a car. It’s big out here and things ain’t getting any closer together. If you want to feel connected you’ve gotta get in the car and drive. If you want to disconnect from everything, you also need a one, and the Purrs understand that. They know when to cruise and they know when to put the pedal to the floor.
The Boy With Astronaut Eyes is the Purrs’ sixth album and it may be their best since The Chemistry That Keeps Us Together. Bassist and songwriter Jima has come up with a great batch of songs that rivals Chemistry’s top shelf stuff. The songs are dusty, gritty, cosmic and road-ready. They feel like futuristic wild west space tales. Jason Milne’s interstellar guitar solos propel the songs into the nether realms. New rhythm guitarist Liz Herrin provides some angelic backing vocals to counter Jima’s road-worn ones, while drummer Craig Keller is the designated driver that keeps the songs on the road or at least on a trajectory to intersect with the next outpost.
This batch of Purrs songs are doused in gasoline and then lit up with guitars. Cemetery Johnny is a blast of feedback over a killer bass groove that feels like Love and Rockets gone bad. They also can take you on strung out road trips down lonely west coast highways with acid rain pelting the windshield and if there is a bar on the roadside you can be sure that they are stopping. Fade Away may be thee strung out power drive to end all trips. Both sides of their single from last year re-appear here as well, which if you already have it may come as a disappointment instead of something else, but both Rotting On the Vine and You the Medicine and Me are more than worthy if you don’t do singles.
So the question is: Is this new Purrs album worth the road trip? The first time I heard the Purrs I was in a car. It wasn’t a wide open road. I wasn’t driving to nowhere and there wasn’t a trail of dust in my wake, but when that song came on the radio, I felt like like I could bypass the grocery store and speed off towards the horizon. This record will have you reaching for the keys.
The Purrs play this Thursday, May 30th at the Comet Tavern. They’re currently in the studio with Erik Blood recording their next record that’s bound to be killer.
stream: The Purrs – Fade Away