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Purling Hiss

High Bias

Purling Hiss

2016

I'm admittedly a little late to the Purling Hiss party being that High Bias is my first introduction to the band, but I have to say I like what I hear on this their 3rd full-length album for Drag City.  High Bias kind of sounds like what would happen if you threw elements of psych-punk, shoegaze, noise-rock, and late-80s flavored indie-rock into a blender.  For the most part, it's an invigorating listening experience, but despite the fuzzed-soaked, distortion-heavy sound found here, most of High Bias goes down quite smoothly.  There's a certain righteous tension and resounding spirit in many of these tunes, most notably on album's two opening cuts "Fever" and the standout track "3000 AD".  The former pushes and pulls with it's harshly (but equally pretty) jangly sound, and the latter surges forward with an incredibly propulsive/spiraling main riff that that will make you feel like you're blasting off in a time-machine straight to the year in question.  It's a positively infectious tune that somehow manages to be yearning and adrenaline-fueling at the same time.  One of the most emphatic and overall best songs of 2016 for my money.

And while the rest of the album never quite lives up to the 1-2 punch of the opening tracks, there's still a lot of other good stuff to found find here.  "Notion Sickness" and "Pulsations" are frenzied noise-punk jams, but they come off as more fun than menacing, largely due to lead singer's Mike Polizze's generally nonthreatening (but no less emphatic) delivery.  His style gets downright melodic on the more shoegaze-influenced tracks, like the pleasantly laid-back and somewhat poppy-sounding "Follow You Around" or the drowsy, Ramones-esq "Get Your Way", two quality songs that add nice variety to the album.  Elsewhere the band gets a tad too indulgent on songs like "Teddy's Servo Motors" which has an engaging urgency about it, but is also a bit repetitive and probably lasts a couple of minutes longer than it needs to.  The latter could also be said of the closing track "Everybody In the USA" which despite it's 11+ minute running time, still manages to be a pretty satisfying and righteous jam session in spite of it's excessive length.

So overall, there's really nothing bad to be found on High Bias, an album that definitely features more hits than misses, and sports a uniquely potent and resounding spirit to boot.  One of the better releases of 2016.

8.2

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