A band being on their sixth LP can mean one of two things. The first is that they had a good record or two early on, and just didn’t know when to give up, but still hold enough cultural cachet for people to continue funding their projects. The second, and luckily the one that applies to Purling Hiss, is that they are consistent enough with the quality of their music, and to a certain extent their sound, to maintain fans over a number of years. “Fever,” the latest drop from the psych-rock trio (and the first off their newest LP High Bias,) is significantly more refined than their older material, with clearer tones and better recording. This is a progression we’ve watched the band make through the span of their career, and although it may be alienating to some of their listeners who have been around since the days of their 2011 release Lounge Lizards, the progression has ultimately made their tone more succinct and defined than before, and thus is undoubtedly a positive one.
That being said, “Fever” is still fuzzy as hell and full of the chaotic angst that gained the band their initial attention. Although the members of the band may have matured, they still deal with distinctly youthful thoughts and ideas, as evidenced in the simplicity of lyrics like “I’ll make it easy/I’ll let you in.” The instrumentals on the track are an eternal roar — around the two minute mark we’re treated to a guitar solo that both melds into and clashes with the rest of the song. The unpredictability is something best pulled off within the confines of the psych-rock genre. Overall, “Fever” is proof that Purling Hiss maintained what makes them particularly interesting, and keeps them on top of the growing pains of 6 albums.
High Bias is out October 14 on Drag City Records. You can pick up a preorder on the label’s website here.