Lurid Purple Flowers subvert our expectations with ‘Addict’.
Naming a song “Addict” can come with a wave of presumptions from a listener or an audience. But for Lurid Purple Flowers, who release their fiery new single on Friday, August 19, subverting expectations extends far beyond their songs’ monikers; it’s at the core of how the Boston alternative rock trio present their music to the world at large.
Expectations, and a growing sense of familiarity, soon give way to a sonic force that shakes things up just as comfort sets in.
So while “Addict” could appear to be simply about a struggle with dependency of any kind, it’s in fact a bit more open-ended than that. And it sets a mighty tone for Lurid Purple Flowers’ forthcoming sophomore EP, No Sympathy, set for September release and marked as a fast follow-up to the Mania EP, which surfaced earlier this year.
“The song can be perceived in a lot of different ways,” insists vocalist and guitarist CA Newcomb. “I want people to approach it without having a concrete idea of specifics and instead find meaning through relating to the lyrics and their own experiences. It’s definitely my favorite song so far and the hardest to play live.”
The Lurid Purple Flowers’ live show has been the fuel in the band’s quick rise, and on stage is where the band’s musical precision flourishes, and their blending of genres – taking hold through avenues of hard rock, psych, post-punk, alternative, and funk – blooms into something purely their own. “The EP is all about broadening our sound, especially at the extremes of either end,” says bassist Ben Caito. “I think it sets a polished, energetic tone for the EP, with better production, mixing, and mastering all throughout.”
As the Mania EP defied any sort of genre limitation, No Sympathy takes a more straight-forward approach on the surface, but underneath the various layers of Lurid Purple Flowers’ sonic tension is a frenetic release that draws from the band’s Berklee College of Music foundation and its latest inspirations that helped shape No Sympathy, from Psychedelic Porn Crumpets and Mannequin Pussy to Nirvana and Green Day.
Lurid Purple Flowers are:
CA Newcomb – Vocals and guitar
Ben Caito – Bass guitar
Nick White – Drums
“Our songwriting has definitely become more indulgent and multi-faceted,” say Lurid Purple Flowers. “The song structures are more uneven and complex, with the idea being to go for more involved ideas but in a simple context. ‘Addict’ for example has three main sections, but within them are three different versions of the chorus, one without vocals, one with mellow vocals, and the final chorus after the guitar solo being full volume. We also were able to bring on Nick White on the drums for this record, and he definitely added a different feel to the project compared to his predecessor John Keyes.”
“Addict” was born from Newcomb fiddling around with her acoustic guitar, playing Elton John’s “Mona Lisa & Mad Hatters” with a capo at the 4th fret. After playing the song, she experimented with different chord shapes, playing them over and over again while repeating “Addict’s” opening refrain of “Hello my friend, where you been today?” Newcomb assembled the song later that night, and brought it to the boys in their next rehearsal session.
“We think ‘Addict’ reflects our commitment to increasing the styles incorporated under the Lurid Purple Flowers umbrella,” the band admits. “We all listen to incredibly different music on a day to day basis, and are definitely trying to widen the scope of this project beyond only one or two different styles. We began in a very different place last year, with different members and different ideas of where we wanted to take the band, and we think it has come together beautifully on this project.”
That was also aided by working with Nico Low and Sam Guseman, who engineered and mixed the EP, respectively, the recording process achieved with help from Boston studio The Record Co., and mastering completed at the famed Abbey Road Studio in London.
“We really went towards a gentler, more melodic sound for ‘Addict’. To that end, we tracked a ton of vocal takes and ended up double, even triple tracking them in some spots,” the band adds. “We wanted the energy to remain the same, but felt that the subject matter demanded a softer touch. The guitars underwent some re-amping, and the solo tone was tweaked quite a bit throughout the recording process. We wanted it to have enough weight to carry the emotional impact, but not so much as to be overwhelming.”
The end result? “The heavier tracks will be more heavy than anything on Mania, and the more melodic cuts will be more gentle. We wanted to get this one right, no matter how much time it took, and we’re incredibly proud of how it’s come out.”
That’s one thing that might not be, in fact, open to interpretation.