Who Is Afraid Of Blue?
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An indie pop duo whose music has a cool retro vibe buoyed by smooth melodies, a naturalistic sound, and warm harmonies, Purr is a collaboration between songwriters, musicians, and longtime friends Eliza Barry Callahan and Jack Staffen. The two previously worked together as Jack + Eliza, but while that project emphasized spare and stripped-down accompaniment, Purr's recordings feature a fuller sound with a larger palette of instrumental flavors that often references '60s pop. Purr introduced themselves to the world with a 2018 single, "Bad Advice" b/w "Painted Memory," that showed off their talents as both writers and vocalists, and they further refined their style on their first full-length album, 2020's Like New and continue that on forthcoming album 'Who Is Afraid Of Blue?' To make it, the duo teamed up with their close friend, producer Jonathan Rado (Weyes Blood, Father John Misty, The Killers), whom they worked with on 'Like New.' They went to his NorthHollywood studio, a small building behind his home. This was during Omicron, so they kept recording small, just the three of them in a room for most of the time. Programmed drums on an 808, that kind of thing. While they recorded, they screened movies. Ranging from Barbara Loden's Wanda, to Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia, to Dr. Strange and The Avengers. It all provided texture to the songs. Like making a score. "It's a really hermetic record," says Staffen, "which ended up feeling really special." Sonically, 'Who is Afraid of Blue?' isn't beholden by genre. It is an omnivorous record-you can hear glimmers of Aimee Mann, Radiohead, the Cocteau Twins which is fitting because 'Blue' is in some ways a record of their process of falling in love with music all over again. 'Who is Afraid of Blue?' also exists lightly in conversation with a short novel Callahan wrote (forthcoming via Catapult, 2024), an auto-fiction document of a woman losing her hearing. And all of it comes back to those Newman works: Purr makes music that functions like those large-scale paintings so very saturated with color. 'Blue' is a vast record, with lyrics that bend towards abstraction. But make no mistake: in that abstraction there is intense clarity. Blue is blue: a color, a feeling, a signifier, a way of looking at the world.