Thursday, March 31, 2011

Puro Instinct - Headbangers In Ecstasy review

Puro Instinct, formerly known as Pearl Harbor, is made up of the sisters Kaplan, Skylar and Piper.  Recently featured on Hipster Runoff where Carles tried to determine which was the keuter sister, and glowing reviews from the SXSW festival, I sought out their debut album under their new moniker to see what all the fuss was about.

The album opens with radio white noise/fake call tag of a radio station, KDOD, which is totally unnecessary.  The first proper track, "Everybody's Sick" is a slow moving, sun bleached ballad soaked to the bone with shiny, yearning croons courtesy of the 'of-legal-age' sister, Piper (23 y.o.) and lush wails from 'jailbait' sister Skylar's (16 y.o.) guitar.

The album shifts from reverb psychedelic rockers to blissful little ballads with lyrics torn straight from Piper's seventh grade maths notebook.  The sisters sleepily wade through their songs with an absent minded flair that is reminiscent of the girls I used to watch from afar in my own seventh grade maths class, the ones who looked so mysterious and unattainable.  The droning feedback and heavy reverb that absolutely permeates every aspect of every song gives the entire album a very dream-like quality, and the album does boast some impressive guest spots by indie music royalty, most notably from Ariel Pink on "Stilyagi".  I could seriously do without the fake radio call tags (there are five of them), in fact I deleted all of them after my first listen through the entire album.

I can't tell whether or not lead singer, Piper Kaplan is actually putting in any effort whatsoever to deliver the vocal tracks on these songs.  She sounds like she is half out of it, her voice being obnoxiously flat and shallow, or maybe that's the point.  The album's title is Headbangers in Ecstasy after all, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Ecstasy in the title was an allusion to the drug and the warm fuzzy feeling.  Maybe the sisters pulled a Fleetwood Mac-esque recording session and were wasted the entire time, hell at the very least it would help me understand why they chose that hideous album cover (although the sisters do look super foxy, in a jailbait, slightly incestuous, sort of way).

The simple fact of the matter is this, my first listen through, I hated this album.  The half-assed vocal delivery and the shimmering guitar work that kind of sounds the same on every song come together to sound like you are listening to this album underwater.  Upon subsequent listens however, I started to find more and more things that I liked about this album, and I promise you it has nothing to do with the the pouty lips and come hither eyes of the girls.  The songs are catchy, but in a subtle, sneaky sort of way.  You have to work with Puro Instinct a little bit in order to appreciate the depth of their songs and the hooks that lure you in, but once you let your guard down, the album becomes surprisingly enjoyable.

Half Asobi Seksu, half Beach Boys, Puro Instinct is an act that features some solid guitar work and somewhat tolerable vocals, all packaged nicely into an album you can sway to while under the influence of your favorite party drug.

Puro Instinct - I've Got Some Happiness

Puro Instinct Headbangers in Ecstasy

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