Purse Candy: One Day I'll Look Back
Unnamed Label

A pretty impressive debut from Purse Candy (real name Matthew Ellis), One Day I'll Look Back pairs six original electro-pop originals and five remixes into a forty-seven minute EP that bodes well for the young Portland, Oregon-based producer's future. The project came about when Unnamed Label co-manager Ryan Parmer (aka Phasen) re-connected with Ellis—the two having previously attended the same high school in Orlando, Florida—and became aware of the addictive electro-pop Ellis was creating. The typical Purse Candy track weds surging electro-house grooves, pulsating synthesizer patterns, and heartfelt, sometimes treated vocal melodies into the kind of blissed-out raver one might expect to hear coming out of the Moodgadget or Ghostly camps; Purse Candy's romantic subject matter and electro emphasis suggest that One Day I'll Look Back also would appeal to fans of M83's Saturdays = Youth.

Breathing heavy electro-house fire, “Your Heart is Sold” opens the release powerfully with a wailing vocal melody, which is only half-audible when presented amidst the synthesizer blaze, and chopped vocal treatments. Though it's again sliced liberally, Ellis's natural voice is heard more clearly amidst the poppy splendor and surge of “One Day I'll Be Back.” On the funkier tip, “We Don't Have the Heart” allows shadings of electric guitar and electric piano to move to the forefront while a whistling melody heightens the song's melancholy ambiance. There's no question Ellis has a talent for melody, as the breezy soar of “I Need You Here” makes amply clear, but one thing he should ease up on is his tendency to chop his vocals into stuttering patterns, an effect that suffers when used to excess and also proves unnecessary when the winsome vocal melodies in “Take Your Time” and “Fresh Feelings of You Are Gone” are already strong enough when presented untouched.

On the remix front, Boltfish associate City Rain deepens the melancholy feel of “I Need You Here” without diminishing its propulsive electro-pop character; the Phasen remix of the same offsets a more uptempo and tech-house-driven club treatment with ponderous episodes and explorative breakdowns. Mark.Nine tackles “Your Heart is Sold” without losing the soaring quality of the original in the process, while Tronik caps the release with a more downtempo and dramatic ballad-styled reading of the song. Arguably the pick of the litter is Outputmessage's thumping, electro-funk overhaul of “We Don't Have the Heart,” which suggests that a Purse Candy-Outputmessage collaboration might be an idea worth pursuing.

October 2009