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***It takes balls to let PURLING HISS get in your face. Their records are a half-corroded, screaming roar of high-end guitars crushed together, obliterating vocals and even drums with their singular assault. Well, if you’ve got balls, get ready to swing ‘em. With Water On Mars, Purling Hiss have broken out of the basement, run through the bedroom and are out in the streets, blasting one of the great guitar albums in the past couple minutes. It’s a tumble of hits and ragers, sewing together nine new Purling Hiss celebration laments out of their usual patches of distortion, singing melodies and unexpected production hoohah—but this time the unexpected part is how the guitars gleam so precisely as they pile upon each other, how they work alongside of the rhythm section rather than avalanching it. And how the songs embody a variety of Hiss-teric moods. Water On Mars is Purling Hiss’s first recording outside the fuzzy confines of MIKE POLIZZE’s inner rock utopia, where the first three albums and EP were constructed in solitude with a home-recording setup. Over the past couple years, Mike’s been working with a band and fine-tuning new songwriting ideas while playing shows all over the place. Now, Purling Hiss projects their sounds and ideas onto a new platform, with a visceral and soulful presence. Now there is a center to the Hiss maelstrom, with Polizze’s guitars slugging, sizzling and spiraling their way around the rhythm throb. Polizze lyricises like a poet of the disaffected, shifting from aggro to slack and back over the course of a song; the production highlights the schiz by buffing the raw power into a streamlined blast, hitting down hard and covering a lot of ground in just over a half hour. Purling Hiss have a deeply satisfying way of drawing from the red, white and blue wells of ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s rock to inform their own sound, giving things a retro ring while doing what they do in the Philadelphia of today—and no other time could apply, really. Water On Mars is heav y stuff from Purling Hiss, unknotting the strings that tangled all their previous records together so righteously to reveal—another, greater storm within. (STREET DATE - 3/19/2013)