Purple Eternal: What Things Did You See?

Although Leeds' Purple Eternal had a good run between 1987 and 1991, the band did not achieve much of wider success. Still, that does not mean that their fervent fusion of shoegaze, space rock and psychedelia isn't of high quality and rather worth exploring.

What Things Did You See? is the band's newly released album composed of studio and 4-track home recordings, laid down in the midst of the band's prime in the late eighties and early nineties, all carefully audio restored and mastered. At the time the songs were put together, the band's members were still in their teens and early twenties, and their evident youthful energy was naturally passed on to those recordings. Back in the day Purple Eternal were very active and even had their live act supporting Spacemen 3, Gaye Bykers on Acid, Terminal Cheesecake and Mudhoney.

Immensely gritty, raucous and colorful, the album comes more than thirty years late, carrying that filth evocative of The Stooges and The Birthday Party, organically mingled with the expansive, cosmic heavy rock sound of Hawkwind, Loop, Spacemen 3, the early Telescopes and every great, mind-boggling quality space rock has had to offer. Despite the three-decade long delay, What Things Did You See? sounds relevant and familiar today; all raw, instinctive and daringly direct.

Dare say, had the album been introduced to larger audiences at the time of its creation, right before the eruption of grunge, before Soundgarden and Mudhoney broke through, it could have easily been a point of reference and a highly influential piece of work for the many acts that followed in the same style.

Part of the album was produced and remixed by Jon Langford of Mekons/Three Johns fame. Steve Hawkins who brought Big Black and Butthole Surfers to Leeds, and did live sound for the Swans and Dinosaur Jr also produced some of the tracks.

Conclusively, What Things Did You See? is a collection of eleven noisy tracks that happens to work quite well as a fully realized and cohesive LP, making one wonder how unfortunate it is that this fine band didn't get a chance on further recognition and a bigger career.

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