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Portland, Oregon, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1999 | SELF

Portland, Oregon, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 1999
Band Rock Alternative




"Amnesia Album Review"

This album had a low profile download/streaming-only self-release at the end of last year and has only just come on to my radar. It is a little gem that polishes up 24-carat quality.

Pretty much unknown over on this side of the pond, Purusa are from Oregon and do most of their business on the USA’s Pacific Northwest coast. Formed in 1999 and operating in and around Seattle, an easy, mostly valid comparison is with sound of Pearl Jam. Or maybe Kings of Leon. However, there’s more of an indie, less complicated, lower intensity feel about the music. The band list their own influences as The Tragically Hip and Sponge, amongst some others I’ve never heard of…. Put simply, they play solid guitar rock music with oodles of melody and have stuff to say.

‘Amnesia’ is only the band’s fourth album. They split in 2004 and re-united a decade later when vocalist/guitarist and lyricist Kris Kirkman got back together with lead guitarist Zach Hinkleman. The remaining band members are new recruits.

Kirkman pulls no punches with album opener ‘Julien’, an anti-suicide anthem, written in tribute to a childhood friend that took his own life at the age of 15. This is a gorgeous track. It builds from a folksy, Mumford & Sons guitar underscore before wholesome riffs and a hint of organ move the track up several degrees. Kirkman’s vocal is powerful, authentic and dramatic, especially on the simple, effective chorus. This is one of the best individual tracks I have heard so far this year.

The brooding ‘Maybe I Know’ is a personal song for Kirkman about family and parenting. The track builds nicely and has room for a few passages of immersive instrumentation. No fireworks here, this is just good solid song-writing and arranging, alloyed to crystal-clear but light touch production.

The musicianship is solid all the way through. However it is Kirkman’s voice that often raises the album above the average. He is assured everywhere, nailing chorus after chorus, wringing the lyrics for hardwired emotion and knowing when to go for the jugular. Take ‘My Love’, which begins with Bono-esque tones and phrasing in a song that has a U2 feel circa ‘Joshua Tree’. Then the track takes on a more rocky progression and Kirkman hits a powerful, growly strut at the climax.

‘Come Home to Me’ is a simple ballad that provides another showcase for Kirkman’s expressive vocals; and on ‘Memory’ he adds value to a more straightforward track with a floaty chorus. There are cute keyboard flourishes to keep the interest levels up, and it is topped off with a lovely guitar solo above a gritty chug. Another well put together piece.

Elsewhere, it is the music that grabs the attention. ‘Dandelion’ is riddled with delightful solos and ‘Hold Your Fire’ opens with a military beat and laconic riff, giving way to time and mood changes, including a proper old swaggering mid- and closing-sections, the latter with a dynamic set piece solo from Hinkleman.

Likewise, ‘Light The Bomb’ is a rockier offering, cracking along a mid-tempo vibe until morphing into a climax of spiralling solos and crescendo choruses.

In common with much of the material on the album, title track ‘Amnesia’ is slow burn with an evocative lyric painting pictures in your head and an infectious melody getting under your skin. There are anthemic qualities here and a shimmering ending that takes you by surprise.

‘Salvation Prize’ rounds out this fine, fine album with Hinkleman hitting the pedals and crawling his guitar effects around another impassioned Kirkman vocal. A neat microcosm for the whole collection.

This is not an album that will rip your throat out or have you slamming round your self-isolating living room with unbridled adrenalin. However, it will absolutely outlast the fly-by-night-merchants and have you coming back to the well time and time again to lap up quality songs, beautiful singing, fine playing and a hefty draft of spiritual sustenance. Outstanding. *****

Review by Dave Atkinson - GetReadyToRock.me.uk

"Purusa - Amnesia album review"

I previously reviewed a set from this act and liked it quite a bit. I'd have to say that this one is stronger. That disc was quite wide ranging, and this one is equally so. I'd say that this one represents different musical textures, though, from metal to Americana, alternative rock, shoegaze, singer-songwriter zones and more. It is particularly strong from start to finish, but there are some highlights. Purusa have really topped themselves with this set. I can't wait to hear what they do next, but until then, we have this great set.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019 Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review

A cool little introductory build-up gives way to more of a powered up alternative rock jam. There are definite country or at least Americana elements in the mix. This is such a classy tune. It makes for a strong opener.

My Love
This song is so powerful. It has a driving energy along with some seriously soaring musical textures. There is a bit of a metal edge in some ways, but also some hints of shoegaze. All in all, this powerhouse cut really works particularly well. As good as the previous number was, this more than surpasses it.

There are hints of The Beatles on this, along with a lot of 80s rock in a great way. The soaring, dreamy elements call to mind a lot of 80s Euro-stuff, but there are also things here that make me think of Cheap Trick. In particular the guitar riff that drives a lot of the piece rings that bell. The guitar solo section, though, is more in line with the electric output of Neil Young. The shoegaze thing is heard a bit here, too.

Maybe I Know
Starting with a mellower movement, this works out to more of that Americana meets alternative vibe like we heard on the opener. This has some great musical moments and some cool textures. It gets into some seriously hard rocking zones as it continues driving forward.

Another melodic alternative rock vibe opens this. There is some old-school blues rock built into this thing as it drives forward.

Come Home to Me
More fully in a singer/songwriter meets alternative rocker vein, this has some really evocative moments. In fact, it's probably the most emotionally powerful tunes of the set. It's also a real highlight of the disc. A little piano bit serves as a nice closing shot.

Hold Your Fire
The drums lead this out with a cool rhythm. Guitar rises up bring a meaty, funky kind of rocking sound. This thing grinds out into some seriously energized and meaty hard rock. It's another standout track.

Light the Bomb
A rather melodic tune, this is a harder that works well. It has plenty of catchiness built into it. This isn't one of the highlights of the set, but that's more about how good some of the rest of this stuff is.

A burst of hard rock opens this title track. The cut works out there is more dropped back alternative rock sound. They power it up and drop it back throughout a lot of the cut. This brings back some of that cool soaring, dreamy element at points. This is a great song that's among the best material of the set.

Salvation Prize
This has some killer guitar fills. There are some great 90s rock elements driving the piece, too. I like this thing a lot. It reminds me of INXS to some degree. This has such a cool groove element to it. It's a excellent choice for closing, capping off a strong release in style. - Gary Hill @ Music Street Journal

"Repair Album Review"

Due to a bitter breakup in 2004, this Portland, OR foursome never issued this completed 2003 second LP, despite praise for 2001's 101 EP and 2002's debut Spectacle. A 2014 one-off gig led to the band's reunion and now, Repair's belated release. Their robust, resounding music hearkens to the early 90's; imagine Gin Blossoms/Toad the Wet Sprocket alterna-pop crossed with heftier Pearl Jam/Screaming Trees grunge. But their cinematic rock also summons Radiohead and Catherine Wheel on "You're Strange" and "Man of The Year," while the direct drive of "Surrender" and "Bottom Out" suggests Swervedriver. Each is enhanced by the expansive guitars of Zach Hinkelman and Kris Kirkman, and the brawny bottom-end of Michael Izaak and Andrew Marshall. Kirkman's ardent, authoritative croom (and Posies/Disciples man Ken Stringfellow's piano, on two tracks) provides further purpose to cheer Purusa's "repair." (purusaband.com)
-Mark Suppanz - The Big Takeover

"Repair Album Review"

The story of Purusa, as of today, is a mix of common and uncommon plot points. Formed in 1999 as a four piece calling the Pacific Northwest home, the group steadily built a following through plying their blend of acoustic Americana and pop rock throughout their neck of the woods. A couple of solid studio showings were the fuel that fired their steady rise. Sadly, the too common twist of a band's members strugging internally cropped up. This was around the time their third LP was being prepared for release, and the album and Purusa essentially ceased to be. The uncommon twist? Over a decade later the original lineup reconnected for a one-off show and found that time had healed whatever wounds split them apart to begin with. With an entire LP still on the shelf, Purusa quickly dusted it off and gave it the light of day. Repair is a fitting title, as fitting as any, and the music also seems to reflect the story of the band itself.

The sound is a steady thing throughout Repair, an easly accessable mix of fluid acoistic balladry, Americana underpinnings and emotive lyrics/vocals courtesy of the clearly charismatic frontman Kris Kirkman. His voice, smooth with an edge that puts emphasis on the melodies and punch in his words, is very much the aspect of Purusa that grabs the listener first and foremost. With rock radio-friendly songwriting, instrumental variations (particularly in the various guitar tones and textures utilized by Zach Hinkelman) and crystal clear production values, the (mostly) superb material of Repair lifts up from the speakers like the long-forgotten and lost gem it is.

Where the listener today who didn't catch Purusa the first time around will be left after spending time with Repair is most likely where I am left; pondering how good this band would have been had they continued down this path without skipping the decade+ beat they did. Fortunately for those who experience their reincarnation, Purusa are prepared to find out exactly that. The release of Repair is a precursor to new material and a return to the road for the four-piece, and if the material here is any indication, they could turn more than a few heads. Repair has enough meat on its bones to keep you satisfied, but the next step is where I believe Purusa will stake their claim. - Music Emissions

"Repair Album Review"

Review by G. W. Hill

The mix of sounds on this set is fairly wide. We get things from folk rock merged with space rock, to alternative rock, psychedelia and more. Some of this would probably fit pretty comfortably under a modern progressive rock label, but overall, I wouldn’t put the set there. I would say that it’s pretty consistently strong. It does get a little samey here and there, though.

Track by Track Review

I like this opener quite a bit. It seems to combine folk rock with space rock. In some ways it reminds me of some early Pink Floyd. In other ways, it makes me think of the acoustic Zeppelin stuff from Zep III. There is Americana in the mix here, too.

You're Strange
I think I make out some theremin here. At least it sounds like it. This has the same kind of mix of sounds as the opener in some ways. It really does feel like a lot of modern progressive rock. The piece is evocative and powerful. If anything, I’d say this is even stronger than the opener. It has a healthy dosage of alternative rock in the mix. There are moments that make me think of Radiohead a bit.

This cut is more pure alternative rocker. Still, there are some bits of psychedelia here. It has a lot of Americana in the mix, too. There is enough space rock mixed in to make it worth mentioning. This has a bit of a punky edge, as well. I don’t like it quite as much as I do the first couple songs, but it’s still quite good.

Man of the Year
Although this isn’t a big change, it’s perhaps more clearly in the alternative rock arena. It’s a good tune, but suffers a bit from the lack of variety.

Breaking Down
Another in the realm of alternative rocker, this is a fun cut. It stands tall based on the strength of its content, really. It’s one of the better pieces here.

It's Late
A bit slower and mellower, this is more like moody modern prog in a lot of ways. Still, the folk influences are easy to spot here, too. This is another strong cut. It brings some variety to the proceedings, too.

I like the passion in the vocal performance here. This is quite a solid alternative rocker. It’s a classy tune and some definite variety. This does earn a minor parental warning on the lyrics.

Better Than I've Been
Combining a mellow alternative rock style with some psychedelic elements and more rocking sounds, this is another strong piece. Some of the guitar work here really shines, too. Again, I almost think I hear theremin on this number. It could be some kind of keyboard or even a whistle type instrument, though.

Bottom Out
Much more of a rocking number, somehow this makes me think of some of the melodic rockers from Jane’s Addiction, with perhaps some Temple of the Dog thrown in for good measure. It has some psychedelic rock elements and Beatles-like parts, too. It’s one of the more directly accessible tracks here. It has more energy than a lot of the rest, too.

The title track is much more of a mellow piece. It’s got some dream pop in the arrangement. It’s very folk oriented, or soft rock styled perhaps. It’s a little moody, but also seems to feel hopeful. It’s also quite pretty. - Music Street Journal

"Purusa Live Show Review"

For the local music scene, it seems everyone is busily making records so the club scene has taken a beating. One exception to this would be the Purusa/Eyes Adrift show at Roseland the other night. My old pals Purusa are constantly outdoing themselves with their showmanship and a leaning toward the more heavy and ballsy sound that I have always believed they were capable of. Besides that, the lads even introduced a new song that has never been played before this night, and for my money they should keep going in this direction.

Now seeing Purusa is plenty for one night, but when I found out about Eyes Adrift, I nearly soiled my trousers. EA is a somewhat laid back power trio comprised of drummer Bud Gaugh (Sublime), Curt Kirkwood (Meat Puppets) on guitar, and Krist Noviselic (Nirvana) on bass. This unexpected surprise blew me away, as it readily displayed vivid characteristics of each members respective bands all rolled into one tight package. These guys don't expect to take over the world (at least ours) but are content to play their rather unique toonage for those who want it- those who KNOW... Check them out at www.eyesadrift.com - Portland Online Musicnet

"Purusa CD Release Party - Roseland Theater"

The long awaited CD from PURUSA, entitled Spectacle, is here! To help celebrate it's long-awaited release, about 300 devout Purusans clamored to hear pretty much the entire album performed live, as well as selections from their first album, 101.
Opening the night’s entertainment was Ian Moore, who performed as a duo with his steel pedal player. I had never seen Moore before, and reports I had heard, that he is an incredible vocal talent, were confirmed. I did know that he opened for the Rolling Stones a few years back, so I arrived early to check this one out. I was even rewarded with a Stones cover!
Then came PURUSA with a full set of music, which included guest appearances by a couple friends of theirs who lent their vocal talents to a few songs. One thing for sure, these Purusa guys have certainly grown more and more comfortable with the stage, and each subsequent show of theirs gets more and more vibrant. I suspect that these guys will be breaking out of the Portland bar circuit soon and start leaning toward more national appearances before long.
Finishing up the night's entertainment was Lapdog featuring former members of Toad the Wet Sprocket.

Story & Photos by Bob Cooper, © POMN - Portland Online Musicnet


2019 - Amnesia

   1. Julien
    2. My Love
    3. Memory
    4. Maybe I Know
    5. Dandelion
    6. Come Home to Me
    7. Hold Your Fire
    8. Light the Bomb
    9. Amnesia
   10. Salvation Prize

2016 - Soundtrack

    1. Soundtrack
    2. Fall Behind
    3. Free

2015 - Repair

  1. Breathe
  2. You're Strange
  3. Surrender
  4. Man of the Year
  5. Breaking Down
  6. It's Late
  7. Words
  8. Better Than I've Been
  9. Bottom Out
  10. Repair
2003 - One New Song & A Few Live Tracks
  1. Breaking Down
  2. Walking on the Bottom (live)
  3. Demand (live)
  4. Breathe (live)
  5. Spectacle (live)
2002 - Spectacle
  1. Disappear
  2. Erase
  3. Cold
  4. Demand
  5. In Front of Me
  6. Green Grass
  7. Inside
  8. Shadow
  9. How I Could
  10. Melt
  11. Sally
2001 - 101 - EP
  1. Spectacle
  2. Obsession
  3. Summer's Calling
  4. Outta My Mind
  5. Ride



     Purusa is an indie rock band, originally formed in 1999 by lead singer Kris Kirkman and guitarist Zach Hinkelman.  The band spent most of ‘00 playing a rigorous live schedule throughout the Pacific Northwest, while completing work on their debut EP 101.  Released in early February ‘01, just after the band triumphed in the 94.7 NRK Battle of the Bands, the CD immediately showed strong sales.  Despite little fanfare and promotion the CD sold enough to propel it into The Oregonian’s top 10 list of best selling Northwest Artists in early February, where it would remain for nine of the next eleven weeks, climbing as high as #3.

     By the time the band was prepared to release their first full-length album in May of 2002, the anticipation amongst a growing fan base was apparent.  Joined on their CD release tour by industry veterans Ian Moore and Lapdog (members of Toad the Wet Sprocket), the band made Spectacle one of the hottest selling local CD’s in Portland.  After debuting at #1 on The Oregonian chart, the album proceeded to spend 10 weeks in the top 5, including five in the top spot.  The single ‘Disappear’ enjoyed modest airplay around the Northwest as the band continued to tour heavily.

      Work on the third album began in early 2003 with the band enlisting the help of producer Simon Widdowson, fresh off working with The Decemberists.  An advance single was released in July for the song ‘Breaking Down,’ which features a guest appearance by Ken Stringfellow of The Posies and sideman for REM, who contributed backing vocals and piano.  The single successfully broke the band into the college radio market, as 79 stations across the nation added it to their rotation.  Though the album was completed, the band imploded before it was released, shelving the project for a decade.

     Finally burying the hatchet after more than 10 years apart, the band's classic lineup reunited for a one-off show in 2014.  However, the enthusiastic response blossomed that reunion into more, as the band came together again.  The long awaited third album 'Repair' was released on July 11, 2015 with a triumphant performance at the Aladdin Theater in Portland, OR.  The single 'Breaking Down' has since garnered enough national radio play to chart at FMQB, debuting at #156 on 1-13-16 and rising each week to a peak of #49 on 3-9-16.
      In August of 2016 the band celebrated the release of a brand new EP, 'Soundtrack'.  This represented the first release of newly recorded material since the band reunited.  The title track and single from the EP enjoyed some college radio airplay in the spring of 2017, getting adds at 47 stations across the country.  In addition the EP as a whole landed the band licensing deals with networks such as MTV and Discovery.  The fall of 2019 brought a new full length album 'Amnesia' that delivered the band's first streaming breakthrough as the first two singles 'Julien' and 'Memory' both topped 12K streams in the first two months of release, while the third single 'Maybe I Know' went on to surpass 50K.

Band Members