High Bias amplifies everything that already made Purling Hiss great - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
Purling Hiss | photo by Kathryn Lipman | courtesy of the artist

After the moodier, psychedelic explorations of 2014′ Weirdon, Purling Hiss is ready to rawk again. Previous singles “Fever” and “3000 AD” predicted an album that would be both a return to form for the band and a step forward in fidelity, and on this year’s excellent High Bias, we got just that and then some.

Purling Hiss have been known for their righteous guitar shredding and powerful rock grooves for a while now, but they’ve never sounded so good doing it. They’ve reunited with prolific Philly producer Jeff Ziegler for the first time since 2013’s Water on Mars, but where that album was shrill and crowded, High Bias is massive and sprawling. This isn’t to say Purling Hiss has lost their edge by any means; if anything, they’ve sharpened it to create an album that sounds like a mature culmination of all their years as a band.

In a recent interview with The Key, singer/guitarist Mike Polizze detailed how the band spent more time on this record than previous efforts, and it shows. For an album this loud and blood-pumping, there’s remarkable variety here, from the unhinged “Notion Sickness” to rollicking singalong of “Follow You Around” that comes immediately after it. Somewhere in between, tracks like “Teddy’s Servo Motors” and “Pulsations” place monster riffs over a rock-solid rhythm section thanks to Kiel Everett on bass and Ben Leaphart on drums. The hook of the latter track is a perfect example of how much Polizze has progressed as a vocalist. He’s never sounded this lively on the mic, but with the extended jam that closes out the album on “Everybody in the USA”, it’s clear Purling Hiss’ focus is still on the searing guitar that got them where they are in the first place.

High Bias is out October 14th via Drag City, but you can stream the album below via NPR First Listen. In a few weeks, the band will embark on a nationwide tour in support of the album and are set to make a Philly stop at Johnny Brenda’s on October 30th. Find tickets and more information here.

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