Purling Hiss continues his stoned out slacker indie rocking on 'Weirdon', following up the heavy action of 'Water On Mars' with a dosage of more relaxed pop. There's still a lot of guitar ascension, though, with feedback smothering the song-writing gleefully. Mike Polizze continues doing exactly what he's best at doing: riffing, cussing and chilling.
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After their noisy beginnings making fuzzy blown-out psych-noise scuzz, Purling Hiss have spent their last couple of albums retreating into a more accessible grunge/college rock revivalist mould, which continues here on 'Weirdon' where the influences of bands like Pavement and Archers of Loaf are clearly evident, albeit through the blown-out tone palette of bands like Dinosaur Jr or Mudhoney.
Not that you'll find me complaining. That's the indie rock I was weaned on and Purling Hiss are highly proficient at it. 'Weirdon' sounds like it could've come out in 1994, and any doubts about their poppier direction are dispelled by the fact that the catchier songs are often the highlights - a case in point is 'Airwaves' which is pure mid-'90s radio pop from the Guided By Voices school of keeping things simple and brief, driven along by some gainily twanging guitar that's somewhere between the Meat Puppets and Marked Men. Opener 'Forcefield of Solitude' is another indie rock big-hitter with more radio-themed lyrics and squealing guitars. If I have a criticism it's that the songs can drag a bit when they slow the pace down and ease up on the distortion on numbers like 'Reptili-A-Genda' and 'Running Through My Dreams', but for the most part this is very enjoyable '90s-inspired indie-grunge full of cheeky pop hooks and hefty guitar distortion.
7/10 Penrith Steve 10th October 2014
Weirdon's predecessor, "Water On Mars" set a new enjoyment benchmark for me (this last happened with The Flaming Lips' "Soft Bulletin") so to say I was looking forward to this would be an understatement. Sadly, although probably understandably under the weight of such lofty expectations, I was a bit disappointed. "Forcefield Of Solitude" kicks things off in fine style, however, recalling perfectly the 90s Boston-meets-Seattle sound they mastered on "Water On Mars". The infinitely singable refrain of "I turned down my radio" rings around my head for hours after each listen. "Sundance Saloon Boogie" is a disappointing throwaway effort with an annoying and unnecessary attempt at an English accent marring the vocal. The album picks up again with "learning Slowly". The riff to which has a heard-that-somewhere-before quality to it and chugs along in a fitting slacker style. "Another Silver Moon" is in the same vein as the acoustic tracks on "Water On Mars" but ostensibly not as considered. However, it does have a catchy, psychedelic refrain of "She knows me/ I know how/ and I'm gone". "Reptili-a-genda" has a slacker country vibe, closing an up and down side one. Inconsistency is also feature of side two, where "Airwaves" and "Running Through My Dreams" are the notable highlights. The former having a tiny, passing resemblance to REM's "It's The End Of The World As We Know It". Not as good as "Water On Mars", then, but I do hope that "Weirdon" will grow on me as I am happy to give it the time.
9/10 Ron 27th September 2014
Well now, this latest Purling Hiss album has had plenty of time to grow on me - and grow on me it has.
I wasn't totally convinced after the first few listens but the cleaner, slightly more polished feel that initially left me a little cold has revealed its depths.
This is good, honest indie rock like the good stuff you remember from the 90s. Lo-fi and punky enough to keep that outsider feel, poppy enough to make you smile, slow enough (in parts) to make you feel sad about that ex you secretly miss. And all underpinned by the usual excellent guitar work of Mr Polizze.
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