Track Review: Purple Hill- Six String All To My Heart



Purple Hill


Six String All To My Heart.




Six String All To My Heart is available at:

29th January, 2015

Folk, Punk, Rock



Top 40 Radio Memory Dream (Oh Yeah!) cover art

The album Top 40 Radio Memory Dream (Oh Yeah!) is available from February 27th.  The album can be streamed via:

Jordan Bruce: Drums, Percussion
Quentin Ede: Bass, Back Up Vocals- tracks 3,4,6,7,8,10
Brent Hough: Guitar, Keyboards, Backup Vocals
Owen Marchildon: Guitar, Vocals
Dan Snyder: Bass- tracks 1,2,5,9

Produced by Purple Hill
Recorded and Mixed by Jeff McMurrich
Mastered by Fedge
Photography by Tyler Anderson and Michelle Siu

All songs written by Owen Marchildon



ONE thing that has been playing on my mind (among other things)…

Is how difficult it can be- for the new musicians starting out- to gain necessary appeal.  Many of my musician friends have been in disarray; jaded and angered by (how difficult it is) to get respect.  Many acts have a great sound (and mass of determination), yet competition is high: the time needed (to hit your goals) can take quite a while.  I am always anxious- when new musicians feel down- as all of them deserve respect- and their rightful share.  I am going to be taking a two-week break from reviewing (to launch a charity initiative) but before I take a short pause, I am back in Canada: a country that is producing some of the world’s finest new music.  In fact, I have had to ‘ban’ Canadian artists (from contacting me) for a bit: it seems that most of my requests (for reviews) emanate here- it is great, but the rest of the world needs a chance.  I am not sure what it is about Canada: whether there is more hunger; less pressure perhaps.  Whatever is occurring, I am never surprised by what is coming forth: last year I was lucky enough to witness some tremendous Canadian artists- all of whom can go far.  Before I introduce my featured artist, I will finish (this section) with one point: the year 2015.  Last year the mainstream disappointed me slightly: the very ‘best’ albums produced were not that great.  I enjoyed Royal Blood’s (self-titled album) but grew weary of its flaws: similarly, the best of the rest hardly gave me chills.  This year shows greater endeavor and wonder: the likes of The Libertines and Blur are coming (to show the new breed how it SHOULD be done).  New music has always been (a constant high) – this year something strange seems to be happening.  Bands and artists- whom were working hard during 2014- are starting to get angered: change courses and start afresh.  I know of several acts that are changing their game plan: the ambition and focus is unwavering and inspiring.  It is likely (this wave of reinvention) will herald new sounds; some stunning movements- and guidance for up-and-coming acts.

Purple Hill are an act that have been around for a few years: they have garnered respect among their native land- and are determined to take their appeal across the oceans.  Among their fellow contemporaries, the four-piece offer something different: it is not generic or formulaic in any way.  A lot of musicians (even Canada’s best) tend to replicate existing acts: losing any sense of originality; coming across as rather stale and insipid.  The Purple Hill gang is a lot sharper and spectacular.  Before I bring in some biography, I would offer some advice to the boys: get your social media output growing.  It is only (fairly) recently that the lads have joined- the big and rather anonymous- world of Facebook.  They have a Twitter account, but there is some ground to cover: a few more sites they could (make themselves visible on).   Their social media ranks are modest at the moment: with a bit more shouting and presence, they could reach huge audiences.  In an age where social media has overtaken real-life interaction (sadly), it is vital that it is exploited- I hope the band ramp up their online offensive.  Their music goes a long way to doing the talking; reviews and buzz has been very encouraging.  With their forthcoming album nary a matter of days away, the online community has been pricking their ears up- in-tune with what the group is putting out.  Before I go into more depth, let me introduce the Canadian quartet:.

Owen Marchildon – vocals, guitars, harmonica.
Jordan Bruce – drums, keyboards.
Brent Hough– guitars, keyboards, backup vocals.
Dan Snyder – bass.

Finally, Purple Hill has joined Facebook country. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. How the hell did that computer illiterate, long-haired captain put together such a site? Well, I assure you, he didn’t have much to do with it. BUT EVERYONE IS DOING IT. So he thought they’d tag along. I guess there are a couple things that need to be said. They have a clean sound. Except for those god dam chromatic tuners. They sure can give Purple Hill the blues. Especially when trying to reach open spaces.
They’ve released three albums so far, a Self-Titled debut on Escape Goat Records in 2005. Their second effort was self-released in January of 2008. It was titled “I Was Born To Flesh”. With the exception of a few rockers, there both pretty much mellow affairs. They recorded their third record “Beechnut St.” at Owen’s parents’ house during a hot week in July 2008. It was released in October 2009 and received glowing reviews both here and overseas. The band was featured in the Eye Magazine the week of its release. With the exception of a few ballads, it’s pretty much an upbeat, jingle jangle, rock n’ roll record.
The band is set to self-release their fourth record, a 12 song storytelling seducer that lies somewhere between Micheal Hurley and The Feelies. There may have been a side order of Soft Boys in there but the band seemed to be over Underwater Moonlight. They just kept shouting “Give us Jonathan! We want more Jonathan!” The new record is called “Bring On The Macho” There also will be a 5 song E.P. released at the same time called “Leave No Prints Behind” This is all going down at the Silver Dollar on Friday March 18th. 2011. Hope to see you there!
So look for Purple Hill in the New Year. Find yourselves amongst the people, check local magazines, go to shows, and for Christ sakes, let’s be friends.

The boys themselves have a clear voice: a unique way of doing things; clear personality ideals.  In terms of ‘influences’- those who have inspired their sound- a few different acts (come under their radar):

The Feelies, Micheal Hurley, Jonathan Richman, The Velvet Underground, Neil Diamond, My Bloody Valentine, Glen Mercer, The Byrds, The Everly Brothers, Big Star, Georg Jones, The Kinks, Chuck Berry, The Travelling Wilburys, The Clean, Wire, Gordon Lightfoot, CCR, Bob Dylan, Alexander Spence, The Vaselines, Bruce Springsteen, Willie Nelson,Beachwood Sparks, Pavement, The Replacements,The Meat Puppets, Freedy Johnston, The Flatlanders, John Fahey, The Raincoats, The Flying Burritto Brothers, Gene Clark, The Turtles, The Pretty Things, Patti Smith, The Soft Boys

Top 40 Radio Memory Dream (Oh Yeah!) is available to stream via BandCamp- the ‘official release’ is a few days away.  I have read a few reviews (of the album) and most are very impressed: highlighting the band’s vitality, inventiveness and fresh sound.  The strong songwriting that comes through (on each track) makes it a nuanced and fascinating collection- something that should be investigated.  When assessing the album, the band surmised it, thus:

“This album was recorded at 6 Nassau Studios between spring 2011 and the summer of 2012 with legendary recording engineer Jeff McMurrich. With the exception of a few guitar and back up vocal over dubs, everything you hear on this record is essentially recorded live off the floor. Working with Jeff was both memorable and rewarding. He’s a very adaptable person and this allowed for the band to attack the songs the way we wanted to without jeopardizing quality sound. This was definitely a fun record to make and I think that sense of “fun” and looseness really comes through on the recording. So sit back, put on your headphones and dream a Top 40 Radio Memory Dream. OH YEAH!!!

The Leave No Prints Behind E.P. – released back in 2012- was the band’s last fully-fledged effort.  The tracks (on that E.P.) showcased a wide breadth of emotions and sounds.  Tracks like Chromatic Tuner Blues dripped with vivid storytelling and wit; gentility and Folk strands- a perfect way to kick-start the set.  I Wanna Kick Your Ass is as vibrant and violent (as its title): a rife and riffling slab of Punk venom.  Old Time Hooligans (in terms of the music) puts me in mind of early-career R.E.M. – the vocals are a real stand-out here.  When We Became Friends has softness and tenderness: its lyrics are as picturesque and memorable (as any on the E.P,).  Throughout the disc, the band never sound compromised or exposed: the songs are tight and unique.  You are hard-pressed to compare them with any other act; their strong songwriting and seamless performances make the subject material engaging and repeatable.  The band has grown in confidence and stature (over the last few years) – their latest album is a testament to this.  Not only have their retained their core elements- strong songwriting and incomparable quality- but have expanded and broadened.  So much colour and adventure (comes out in the L.P.) and it is an album that will draw in a fresh audience.  Six String All To My Heart is a typical slice of Purple Hill: a song that at once is recognisable yet unexpected.  Having surveyed the album, I was impressed by how intent and impassioned (the band sounded) – there are no loose edges or tired moments.  No filler or weak songs to be found: everything on the album deserves its place there.  Being a new discoverer of the band, I was keen to dive into (their latest offering) – see what Six String’ had to offer.

Beginning in a woozy haze- of glorious notes and Blonde on Blonde-esque majesty- Six String All To My Heart gets underway.  Both romantic and intriguing, the intro. builds to a giddying high.  The song itself has its heart set (in the glory days) of the ‘60s: you can practically sense Dylan giving a nod of approval.  That is not to say the song is indebted (to Blonde on Blonde/Highway 61 Revisited at all) as it is very much the work of Purple Hill.  Charming hints and gentle seduction lead you into the first verse.  Like all great songs, there is a sense of literal and oblique (to the lyrics): you are always picturing two different sets of events.  In the video for the song, our moustache-laden hero is in fine voice.  Speaking of something hanging on the wall- a painting?  A gold record?  A photo (of a sweetheart)? – you are at once brought into a very intimate and vivid scene.  Our man is inspired and rejuvenated: keen to pen his thoughts (“The feel I get when it’s in my hands”), you can sense the optimism and passion.  The songwriter elite has been in a midst of what-ifs and sluggishness: he has struck a vein of form and is a man reborn.  Looking around him, our man picks up his six-string; with clear intent (and a girl in mind) you get caught up in the rush of excitement- that sense of renewed hope and intent.  As wrapped-up as you get (with the vocals and lyrical descriptions), the band rustle up a hell of an atmosphere.  I have mentioned Dylan- and two of his finest albums- and there is a genuine sense of the 1960s- an updated version that mixes (the songwriting master) with fresh sounds of 2015.  The band contributes shared vocals; the percussion is particularly sharp and memorable- the keys and bass add plenty of colour, light and strength.  When the entire band unites: that is when you get the biggest hit (and adrenaline rush).  Our hero lets his voice ring out loud and clear: you can tell the song’s messages resonate hard.  Whether inspired by real-life events/romance (or something imagined), you are caught up in the storm.  Looking at the “gold record up on the wall” (I thought that image might feature in the song).  The song itself not only acts as a personal tale; a representation of a man on a mission (to gain fresh musical success) – it is a great statement of the modern (music) age.  So many people I know- who are in the music industry- are lacking that spark and energy: so weighed-down by the pressures of the music business.  I have seen many that have come around again- like Six String’s central message- and many who are in need (of that boost and kick).  I hope this song not only acts as a gem of its own: but gets into the heads of any disaffected musician.  Keeping things simple and effective, the lyrics are economical and catchy: the verse entire track consists of relative few words and sentiments.  Rather than clutter up the song, we are left with a very focused song: it will stick in your head for a long, long time.  If you are a Dylan fan- apologies for the band for bringing his name into things too much- then there is a lovely transition: from the softer and settled romance of Blonde’; to the electric revolution of Highway’.  I was settled in my own presumptions and predications: thinking the song would keep on one course; not deviate or stray from its straight-eyed luster.  Just as the fading light comes to play, the band whip out an electric storm: bringing in some of their Rock-cum-Punk past to the party.  Adding a layer of force and weight, the guitar parable is an effective little thing: it perfectly bridges the two-third marker (and acts as a wonderfully tight middle 8).  Begging for more, the lads keep it concise and to-the-point (the song last 3:31).  When the final notes come into play- and our hero sets on his course of ambition- you are fully into the story.  Rooting for our man, you sit there and wonder: will he make it big this time around?  There is maturity and intelligence throughout the track; simplicity and gorgeous storytelling- something that is lacking (from large portions of the current music scene).  No cynicism or pessimism here, sir: the band is bringing the love back.  The song leaves a big smile on the face: it will resonate with listeners of all ages; inspire new songwriters to try something different.  If you are an acolyte of Dylan’s early/mid-‘60s glory days- when he couldn’t be touched for crap- then you will love (what the band offer).  Their original voice and style overrides any sense of over-familiarity- they inject modern and fresh vitality into their music.  I was left deeply impressed by the band as a whole: the tight performances and seamless intuition is what makes (Six String’) such a golden slice.  Kudos must go to Marchildon particularly, who seeks as much passion and panache (from the subject matter) as is humanly possible- his vocal tones are a perfect counterpart to the uplifting and inspired words.  It would be unfair to single one band member out for attention- as the entire group is on top form- but that is what makes Purple Hill so memorable (that each member is essential and hugely impressive).  Not only does the single act as a guide- as to what the album will contain- but is a step in a new direction: the band has never sounded more intent and inspired.  Make sure you give them a listen (as soon as possible)…

It is clear the Canadian warriors will be forging (a determined and impressive) path this year: hitting the road and reaching new faces.  If they can get their social media portfolio organised and expanded, then they will be onto something: they are no minor league band that are incapable of winning over the masses.  If they sort out a SoundCloud and YouTube account; start pushing their brand more- they will pull in a lot of new fans.  We in the U.K. have few bands (like Purple Hill).  On the evidence they have laid out- their new single and album- the boys are going to be a big sensation.  Too many bands suffer an identity crisis: too keen to mimic or rip-off another act.  Purple Hill has their own voice and sense of direction- their songwriting is among the most impressive I have heard (for a long while).  It is the sense of unity and togetherness (the lads display) that makes their music such a special proposition: that comes out in every note or every track.  I hope they find time to come and play London: it is a city that welcomes in all sorts of artists and musicians.  Too many Canadian acts seem relegated and ensconced in their home locales: few travel across the ocean and seduce continental soil.  Perhaps it is money issues- who can afford to come over on a whim? – or maybe something else- I hope the elite of North America change these habits.  I am stepping back from reviewing until next month- bit tired already- but will be picking up where I left off: discovering something great and unexpected.  If you have not heard of Purple Hill- there may be a few that haven’t- then they are worthy of fonder investigation.  Not your average one-dimensional band, the quartet are some of the most inventive and surprising musicians (I have heard).  It is surely only a matter of time before the four-piece are darlings of the music press: faces that few of us can avoid.  If they continue on their quest and path, then it will be a sure thing.  Have a listen to one of Canada’s best acts…

AND discover something rather special.



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