Words by Abi Whistance
Purple Thread have returned to their usual form after the curveball of I’m All About You earlier this year, and whilst Back To NYC is not quite as exhilarating, it’s still rather difficult to be disappointed.
With all the fashion and the fuzz of the seventies, the glitter-infused four-piece aren’t one to shy away from angst and a bit of a gimmick. Back To NYC is a nice get-together of all the glam-rock tropes you can get your hands on, packaged nicely into a three-minute record. For the sake of making this easy, get your checklists at the ready: do we have guitars layered in thick fuzz? Tick. A nice gritty vocal with resentment to match? Tick. A chugging, foot-stomping beat? Tick. It’s all there, exclusively for those born a few decades too late to get it at its prime.
The only bone to pick with this record is, by design, the very subject it’s been crafted around. It’s hard to disconnect every other angst-fuelled New York love/hate song from this: 53rd and 3rd, Subway Train, Big Apple Dreamin’- you know where I’m heading. NYC may have been electrifying and full of character back in ’72, but now it’s hard to find someone who isn’t sick to death of hearing about it. There’s charisma elsewhere; the city isn’t the capital of rock n’ roll like it used to be, and reminiscing on it in this way yet again feels like flogging a dead horse at this point.
Yet Purple Thread haven’t done anyone a disservice here. The very foundations of the band scream Jean Genie, so to demand a cut of ties with the home of art-rock completely wouldn’t be a reasonable request. Back To NYC’s conception was inescapable, and whilst it feels a little out of touch with reality, it’s a damn good thing Purple Thread do make-believe so well.