Purr Share “Guessing,” New Album ‘Who Is Afraid Of Blue?’ Out June 2nd



Photo Credit: Jeton Bakalli


 To make their new album ‘Who Is Afraid of Blue?’ the New York City duo Purr worked with their close friend, producer Jonathan Rado (Weyes Blood, Father John Misty, The Killers). This was during Omicron, so they kept recording small, just the three of them in his North Hollywood studio, a small building behind his home — there was just one visitor for one day, Dan Bailey, Father John Misty’s drummer, who played on a few songs.

The song “Guessing” was recorded while the band was watching Barbara Loden’s cult-classic film Wanda, which played on the monitor above the console. The film is about a woman with limited options who inadvertently goes on the run with a bank robber, which one half of Purr, Eliza Barry Callahan, says felt like a resonant pairing: lyrically, the song is an honest and direct address, “about wanting to be taken, worn, loved, and perhaps most of all known.” The band’s other member Jack Staffen takes the lead on the vocals here, over a layered harmony. Keys flicker like votive candles. The bass is brilliantly clear. Air-like. The song is searching: “Where’s my invitation to try? / To guess what’s inside?”

Listen to the track below.

Listen to “Guessing”: https://youtu.be/fQtBuurCz5M 

Callahan and Staffen started writing this record in late 2019, shortly before the release of ‘Like New,’ the group’s debut. But just as they began writing, Callahan started to suddenly and rapidly lose her hearing. She was told she could be deaf in a year’s time. It did not seem there was a cure. 2020 rolled around, the duo canceled their tour so she could take care of her health. A few weeks later, the pandemic began. In the following months, it seemed improbable that they’d write music together again. Callahan couldn’t be around music anymore; it became too painful.

“Music became a live wire,” she says, “it wasn’t physically bearable.” These events took their own toll on Staffen too. The duo had a reckoning with their art. They shelved the few things they had begun to write. Callahan focused on finding a way to get better. A year later she entered a medical trial and months later against odds entered remission. Then the pandemic started to lift. They got back to work. “We began working together again, intensely and quickly,” the pair says, “It was a life leveling moment, an opening moment. Time suddenly felt way more valuable.” They made what would become the record from start to finish in half a year. Enter ‘Blue.’

‘Who is Afraid of Blue?’ is not a record about Callahan’s confrontation with a loss of a sense, but it is a record about fear, about trying to outrun loss and longing— it’s knotted up with love.  It’s also about the inverse — finding liberation in the blue, in the great wide open, in beginning again. ‘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.

Later this month the band will headline shows in Los Angeles and along the East coast, close to album release day. All upcoming dates are listed below.

5/16 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Venice West
5/18 – Los Angeles, CA @ Genghis Cohen
6/1 – Washington DC @ Comet Ping Pong
6/2 – Philadelphia, PA @ Milkboy
6/3 – Brooklyn, NY @ Union Pool

Pre-Order ‘Who Is Afraid Of Blue?’
1. Honey
2. Drift
3. Cave
4. Hesper
5. Guessing
6. To Be Better
7. The Natural
8. Receiver
9. Who Is Afraid Of Blue?
10. Many Days

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