On a normal Saturday morning in 1998 I reached from under my duvet to switch on the TV. In those days, I didn’t get up until 11.30 when ‘The Chart Show’ started. The bad graphics, sarcastic comments, and presence of an indie chart made it the only Saturday morning TV show that interested me. As well as the fact that there was no plastic faced ponce presenting it.

My expectations were never high – the new video from Oasis, classic Queen in the ‘Video Vault’ – but one day everything changed. Right there in the Top Ten was a song by a band I’d never heard of before. The guitars were soaring, the melody amazing, and the singer had the most distinctive angelic voice I’d ever heard. The song was ‘This Feeling’, the band was Puressence, and my life was changed.

A few months later I managed to get my hands on a copy of the song (unfortunately the Chart Show’s chart wasn’t the real Top 40 and ‘This Feeling’ only scraped the top 30) and noticed that they had released an album. Thinking that nobody could possibly fluke a song as good as that, I shelled out my twelve quid and dashed home with a copy of ‘Only Forever’.

Here I am almost five years later and this LP is still at the top of my pile. Every moment of it is sheer undiluted brilliance. A bombastic Mancunian mix of atmospheric melancholia spliced with punky, distorted anthemia, I still can’t believe that most of the people reading this won’t have heard of Puressence.

Their second album, it contains all of my favourite Puressence moments. The spiteful bite of ‘Sharpen Up The Knives’, the life changing refrain of ‘This Feeling’, the fact that ex-Stone Roses and now Primal Scream bassist Mani produced ‘Standing In Your Shadow’. Even the album's lower points would be the highlight of many other bands’ greatest work. Singer James Mudrickzi has a voice unlike anything else you’ve ever heard. If there ever were an angel born in the North West, he would sing like our Jimmy. A beautiful falsetto with the sharp hint of Manchester, he really was born to front an important band. And in Puressence he’s found one worthy of his god-like tones. Every hit of the snare is as rousing as a battle cry, every bass line moves your body and your heart, and every riff emanating from Neil McDonald’s Gibson makes the hairs on (not just your neck, but) every part of your body stand to attention.

The lyrics, too, are fantastic – “It’s easy to crease me like a page / Why do I feel this way at such a tender age” (‘This Feeling’), “You tried to do some digging and got buried” (‘It Doesn’t Matter Anymore’), “Talking to Joe / With the head of a crow / And it’s all gone pear shaped” (‘Standing In Your Shadow’) and “Self-disintegrating / Not worth educating / All I want to do is snuff you out” (‘All I Want’) are a mere sniff of the twisted couplets (and triplets) on offer. And I don’t even need to say anything about a song stating “I like to eat my meat with Vodka gravy” (‘Past Believing’). Brilliant.

The band have released another excellent album since (‘Planet Helpless’), but it’s ‘Only Forever’ that I keep returning to. To me this was a turning point in my life. Suddenly reflective, even miserable, music could inspire and move me. Through Puressence I traced the Manchester scene back to Joy Division and discovered Ian Curtis. And the real crime is, so few people are even aware of them. Well let’s put a stop to it! Everybody really should at least hear this record – I’m convinced that the only thing you’ll feel for doing so is amazing. A classic album that nobody's heard (I’m sure that paradox isn’t lost on you), ‘Only Forever’ really shouldn’t be overlooked for any longer.












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