Things You Should Leave Alone

Puracane

Ubiquity Records, 2000

http://www.myspace.com/puracane

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/05/2009

Spotting a derivative act is never too hard. And for one as obvious as Puracane, even a tiny glimpse of their debut Things You Should Leave Alone is enough to reveal their obvious recycling of ideas from the British trip-hop legacy. Blindly pick a number from the album and it hints (if not howls) of duplicity – so much so that even singer Ali Rogers’ actual British accent sounds (unfortunately) concocted. “Big Day” has “6 Underground” (Sneaker Pimps) written all over it, “Anyone Else” could be some random cut from my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Dummy (Portishead), and “14 Nights” represents a typical song by just about any band hailing from Bristol. And the coerced record scratches? Lame.

For an album so tainted with borrowed ideas, TYSLA, however, doesn’t fall prey to the demons of plagiarism completely. In spite of the duo’s lack of originality, it is impossible to overlook their talent. When she is not trying to suffer the travails of Beth Gibbons, Rogers can be something of a wonderful singer with a voice of her own. The perkiness and outright charming jauntiness in her interpretation of the Jane’s Addiction song “Summertime Rolls” is refreshingly exciting. The peppy music completes the job by totally bludgeoning the original and creating a fabulous new clubby version of it.

While Puracane lives in the shadows of other acts, during lots of moments on this disc they also find an identity of their own – that is, when they cuts themselves loose from the entanglement of trip-hop. Songs in the key of the brilliant “Summertime Rolls” – simple and upbeat dancy numbers – bring out the greatness in its members. Rogers’ carefree vocals, not bound by her efforts to force a particular style, and fellow bandmate David Biegel’s knack for writing catchy melodies, with his modest yet meticulous production approach, are the ingredients for some of the best cuts on the album: “100 Of Me,” “Not Today,” “Things You Should Leave Alone.”

It’s when Rogers and Biegel try to fashion a dark and moody sound that they end up sounding like odd trip-hop wannabes. However, when Puracane are their own selves, they come across as a temperamental – but not so dismal and gloomy – dance act: not exactly hardcore trip-hop material, but at least credible and extremely enjoyable.

Rating: B-

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© 2009 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Ubiquity Records, and is used for informational purposes only.