Led by singer/guitarist Robert George Saull, the multi-instrumental band have produced a truly remarkable album here. Infused with a dizzying array of influences, this is a majestic collection that is intelligent, both lyrically and musically, but while maintaining a kind of skewed pop sensibility throughout. This is no easy feat when the sounds veer from Eastern European and Middle Eastern folk, to messianic choirs, taking in chamber pop, and occasionally more mainstream indie, that at times that evokes glimpses of the likes of The Smiths and Nick Cave.
It also manages to be incredibly wordy – ‘body dysmorphia’ gets a mention just twenty seconds in, one track talks of a ‘catatonic cavalcade’, and there’s a smattering of French and Latin. But this melds together without become pretentious, or too clever for its own good.
So from the strong opening of ‘How We Grew Up’, to the epic torchwaver ‘Fear Him Through The Metals’, to ‘Minare’, probably the most straight forward track of the album, and finishing with the beautiful, sparse choral closer ‘Eulogy For All Saints’, this is an impressive achievement. Adding even more class to proceedings is production work from Screaming Maldini’s Nick Cox, who has done an amazing job in bringing a consistent tone to what have ended up a hotchpotch of sounds and influences in lesser hands.
This is a band that deserve a far wider audience than they are currently getting, and hopefully this record is going to go some way to getting them that. The world of the Purgatory Players is an odd, eerie, atmospheric and, at times, truly wondrous place. What are you waiting for?