Forgotten series: Hollyfaith – Purrrr (1994)

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NICK DERISO: I must admit, even now, an abiding love for the inner-ear damage that “Purrrr,” this long-forgotten hard-pop release, offers.

But there’s more to it: Hollyfaith’s debut on Epic is, in some ways, perfectly done guitar-focused music, raunchily loud but then welcomely tender — and, in no small way, reminescent of the big-sounding 1970s rock bands.

When, about two-thirds of the way through the tune, “Bliss” (linked below) seems to exhale, you never stop anticipating the crashing return of Kevin Morrison’s full-throated guitar utterances. Hollyfaith, and this is uncommon, seemed to be comfortable with splitting the difference.

Still, the Atlanta-area band found its early-1990s major-label affiliation to be anything but a platform for lingering successs — “Getting signed,” vocalist Rob Aldridge famously said, “ruined our career” — and that may just be because of its refreshing dichotomy.

Even the double-time beat of “Who Is You,” which seems like a mistake at first, is saved by pleasant pop-music cornerstones: Smeared, contemporary solos and processed vocals fit snugly into the galloping proceedings.

“Delacacies,” with a good-faith effort at tunefulness, may be the most completely realized cut here. And coming as it does so soon after “Who Is You” makes its contemplative nature all the more remarkable.

Hollyfaith has since split, moving on to what Aldridge (who subsequently opened a Decatur, Ga., barbecue joint called Rockin’ Rob’s) has called “real lives.” But there remains a lingering allure to “Purrrr” — which contains an almost-perfect balance of slow, nearly but not-quite sensuous songs and pop-influenced, almost (gasp) hooky heavy ones.

It’s not all drone, not all power-ballad and not all jackhammer hardness: I like the slow, careening guitar of “Zero,” yet still fall for the Bullwinkle wink of “Whatsamatta,” which really moves.

A forgotten gem of the genre.

Check it out: “Bliss,” on YouTube.

 

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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