Review by Paul Monkhouse for MPM
Touted as the next big thing, Purson were set to take the world by storm with their mix of hard rock, blues, prog and folk. Events conspired against them, and the band imploded before they had the chance to truly take off into the stratosphere.
Fortunately, crawling from the wreckage, singer Rosalie Cunningham not only survived but started carving herself a critically acclaimed solo career and sophomore release ‘Two Piece Puzzle’ is her most intriguing, beguiling and ambitious work yet.
Given the space to record over the lockdown, Cunningham has had the chance to really stretch herself and along with partner Rosco Wilson, this sees them letting their imaginations take them to wherever they find themselves.
With the bulk of the material written by the polymathic vocalist, it seems like she’s been able to dip into and channel a wealth of 60’s and 70’s influences, molding them into something twistingly unique.
Heavy Prog instrumental ‘Start With The Corners’ starts things off in grand style, the fire in Cunningham’s belly blazing before ‘Donovan Ellington’ takes a more pastoral folk rock route, full of mystery and passion.
The move between this and the whimsical ‘Donny pt Two’ onto the delirious spoken word ‘The War’ with its accompanying mellotron backing mixes psychedelia head-trips with something so quintessentially English and artful.
Sharing vocals with Wilson on the aptly titled ‘Duet’, the stakes are raised yet again as this confection of Beatlesque Music Hall soars to even greater heights, Cunningham’s voice is a thing of wonder as it goes from Grace Slick rock power to something utterly refined.
Whilst the album title may potentially refer to her and partner in real life Wilson, there is an intelligence running deeply through here that may not give just a throwaway solution.
Make no mistake, whilst each track may be loving precision crafted interconnected by threads, the whole is like disparate chapters of a book and, as with the titular puzzle, you can only see the whole picture once the whole thing is viewed together.
More a glorious sonic tapestry than anything, the album moves from rock, blues, folk and into jazz on ‘The Liner Notes’, even taking a trip to the mysterious East in the hypnotic ‘Trisitia Amnesia’. Whilst this may sound like a technicolour creation too far for some and at times you wonder if there was too much time given to explore the entire paintbox, there can be no doubt that Cunningham has crafted something that gives free reign to her art.
Given that the world has benefitted so richly from those who draw outside the lines and stretch their creation beyond the expected, taking us to fantastic new worlds, such work should be embraced and explored rather than squeezed into a pigeonhole.
With a passion for the material, a keen eye on the minutia and the skills to pull it all off, the polymathic artist has created something that repeatedly rewards with a warm embrace, far away from the merest whiff of cookie-cutter pandering or corner cutting. A magical mystery tour for the senses, ‘Two Piece Puzzle’ is one of the most extraordinary albums you’ll hear this year.
PRE-ORDER it now! – https://rosaliecunningham.com/shop-2/
Available on digital platforms – https://cherryred.co/TristitiaAmnesia