How Chris Pureka Learned To See In The Dark
With her 2004 debut LP, Driving North, Pureka started a career as a touring troubadour and began building an impressive fan base from the ground up: a cult following that started in her native New England and steadily grew to a national level. Fans and critics alike were drawn to the signature voice that somehow makes heartbreak sound desirable and her acute attention to lyrical detail, while others lauded her aptitude for crafting guitar parts that speak for themselves. The Boston Globe raved that "[she] is such a gifted guitar player and singer that you have to listen to each song twice, once for her guitar playing and again for her passionate lyrics about love, loss and hope." With her 2006 follow-up, Dryland, Pureka further expanded on the emotional topography she charted earlier in her career by continuing to tour extensively playing 200+ shows a year and gathering supporters city by city, show by show and fan by fan. This year Chris will take touring to the next level by adding a full backing band to her incredible live show.
While maintaining the unique alchemy of longing, loss and hope this virtuoso sets to music, there is a sonic adventurism on How I Learned to See in the Dark that marks a new stage in Pureka's musical evolution. This is aided by Pureka's choice of co-producer and longtime friend, Merrill Garbus (4Ad's tUnE-YaRds). In addition to enjoying the comfort that comes with working with someone you've known since middle school, Garbus brought to the table her signature quirky recording techniques and alternative instrumentation, helping Pureka shift her sound into as-yet uncharted territory. This record boasts a newfound edginess, coupled with a more abstract sound and a musical depth and complexity that shines through each track, all the while maintaining the space and creative instrumentation Pureka is known for.
Standout track, "Landlocked", showcases Pureka's technical prowess with the finger-picking style that won her so many accolades on Dryland while "Broken Clock" is the rhythm driven, heavy hitter bound to be on your next break up mix. "Wrecking Ball" mixes a playful quirkiness in production with an underlying paced anger, laced with twangs of percussive guitar. Album closer, "August 28th" is the deep breath following the emotional tumult that precedes it – a return to quiet contemplation for the writer and the listener: "I think the whole world needs a shoeshine/I think we're all living proof."
It has taken years for Chris Pureka to arrive here, and each step has been as purposeful, as precise, and as unwavering as the music she makes.
Wed 4/7 Portland, Me @ One Longfellow Square
Click here to read today's full Day in Pop report