Purling Hiss

Water on Mars

Written by: BV on 10/07/2013 22:03:14

Purling Hiss started out as the solo-project on the side for Mike Polizze, who was the guitarist of Birds of Maya at that time, but has since come to be his primary focus. With “Water on Mars”, Polizze’s fourth release under the Purling Hiss moniker, Polizze’s solo efforts have been captured in a professional studio environment and thereby most of the murky sound he was previously known for has been swept away.

Still, on album opener “Lolita” there is plenty of gritty feedback and fuzzy riffs that are vastly reminiscent of a far more psychedelic version of Bleach-era Nirvana. The raw and untamed vocal work and the bombastic rhythm work of drummer Mike Sneeringer and bassist Kiel Everett blend great together and have seemingly created a slightly more radio-friendly version of the ever ‘dangerous’ sounding Purling Hiss recipe of songwriting. In spite of the raw attitude that oozes off the track, it is quite obvious that this track, along with many of the tracks on “Water on Mars”, do not stray far from the classic recipe of verse/chorus/verse but rather blend some Purling Hiss madness into that form – with the end result coming out far more accessible and, to some, watered down.

With “She Calms Me Down”, the psychedelia is the main focus as the acoustic elements make themselves quite up-front – leaving the die-hard fuzz fanatics baffled and slightly offended. “She Calms Me Down” is not a driving rock classic of sorts, but what it is though, is a small psychedelic gem from one of the, in my opinion, most unlikely places to find it. – I personally wouldn’t have gone looking for an acoustic psychedelic track on an album that predominantly features gritty and fuzzy content, but that seems to be the varying beauty of Purling Hiss anno 2013 I guess. – A brighter and more focused outlet for the previously murky ideas, I would say.

Rest assured though, because with the title track there is still plenty of raw power left – Iggy and the Stooges may very well have out-grown the fuzzy shenanigans but Purling Hiss sure as hell haven’t, as this slowly driven noise-rock track sets out on a mission to stress-test your speakers through a variety of sonic onslaughts nearly worthy of noise-rock legends My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth. It’s odd really, a nearly non-rhythmic track composed mostly of noise is growing to become one of my favorites off this quite peculiar record, but I like it.

Purling Hiss may have changed drastically into a slightly more radio-friendly unit but I’d wager that die-hard fans won’t be entirely disappointed with this album if they give it enough time. I’m definitely liking it and recognizing that it is indeed a step forward for the eclectic Philadelphia-native Mike Polizze.


Download: She Calms Me Down, Dead Again, Lolita
For The Fans Of: The War on Drugs, Bleach-era Nirvana, Birds of Maya
Listen: facebook.com

Release Date 19.03.2013
Drag City

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