It's been four years since angelic voiced frontman James Mudriczki and his Puressence crew have released an album, and, FINALLY, they are back to send chills down your spine and warm the cockles of your heart with Planet Helpless. The searing guitars of their 1996 self-titled debut and 1998's Only Forever are gone for the most part, but Mudriczki's amazing voice has not a suffered a bit during the layoff. There is a new-found rhythmic aspect to the band and song diversity abounds. The album leads off with the edgy and abrasive first single, "Walking Dead" and winds its way through many sonic textures, whether it's on the soaring "Prodigal Song," which somehow invokes Rocket From The Crypt's "On A Rope," while being 1/12 as fast, or the Love-trumpet infused "How Does It Feel?" Virtually every track is different from the last; "She's Gotten Over You" manages to blend many familiar elements into a new framework and "Make Time" is a dreamy, string-backed number, begging for movie soundtrack inclusion, while "Ironstone Izadora" is Joy Division meets Radiohead with beats. Hurry up and join Tim Schiavelli and Aaron Axelsen on the Puressence bandwagon and see what you've been missing for the past six years.
JEREMY P. GOLDSTEIN