There’s something paradoxical about an album being called ‘Like New’ when its creators openly admit they only like music “made before 1978”. Isn’t that like saying something you’ve bought from the vintage store is brand new? Either way ‘Like New’ is the debut LP by song-writing twosome Eliza Callahan and Jack Staffen; their first offering under the name Purr, their previous releases were credited to the project name, Eliza and Jack. As you might have imagined the pair’s new endeavour is surrounded in a dusty retro aesthetic, one that’s anchored in a slow-mo, woozy psyche-esque whirr.
For an album so entrenched in the sounds of a bygone era and the fact it has little in the way of dynamic shifts,
it feels really out of step with life today, whereas most psyche bands around these days, take influence from
what’s come before making their wares feel spruced up with a contemporary twist. ‘Like New’ is a record that’s hard to latch onto given its vapour-like DNA. Sonically and vocally the album drifts on by with next to no impact; it makes you wonder, is this supposed to be the next level up from background music or a record to immerse yourself in? It’s the kind of listening experience that makes you battle heavy eyelids.
Despite the majority of the album being rather pedestrian, ‘Like New’ is bestowed with the occasional flourishes of something interesting; ‘Avenue Bliss’ is a slow motion disco-jazz voyage through swirling colours and delicate laser gun noises. ‘Boy’ fidgets with a summery playfulness and a loving tone “won’t you treat me right/won’t you be my protection” coos Staffen. ‘Take You Back’ bobs along with a jolly ‘Sgt Pepper’-style bounce, while there’s a grandness lurking in the background of ‘Giant Night’, with its lavish string-laden swoon. ‘Like New’ is neither charming enough to sound like it’s a long-lost record from decades ago, nor is it a modernised homage to the days of dope-fuelled psychedelia.
Words and Thought of Adam Williams
Like New arrives on January 14th via ANTI-