London-based grunge trio Puppy have just announced their highly anticipated second album, ‘Pure Evil’ – due Friday, May 6. To celebrate, they’ve just released their new single …And Watched It Glow. The record will include previous acclaimed singles The Kiss and Angel.
‘Pure Evil’ is an album created from a forced upon circumstance, like so much music and art over the last few years. Whilst obviously not influencing any of it in any way, the current pandemic has certainly created a specific path for Puppy and this brilliant album, for good and bad. Vocalist and guitarist Jock Norton explains a bit about marrying creative drive with a global health meltdown; “We had to dig fairly deep to find the purpose in doing any of it because the global narrative was rightly shifted to more important things. But I think, to be honest, that sort of introspection had filtered through into other aspects of our lives, so being able to record this album sort of gave us a bit of purpose and something to cling on to. Ultimately for us, we wanted to feel engaged and productive and useful, even if it was only for ourselves and each other. Like I said, there’d be times when it would feel a bit meaningless but getting to a place where you’re comfortable with that and happy to let the work be its own reward really helped us grow as a band and as people I think.”
Much like their first album ‘The Goat’, the title ‘Pure Evil’ was something they’d settled on way before they had got the final collection of songs together. “I think we all liked how dumb it sounded”, jokes Norton, “but then the dichotomy of the two words really resonated as well. Broadly speaking I think we’ve always tried to combine classic pop songwriting with a love of heavier music, and on this album, I think we take that a step further with some of our loudest moments combined with some of our sweetest. It feels like a nice way to say something about the band and our ethos while ultimately still being able to call it something stupid.”
The writing sessions for the album began in early 2020, with some basic plans in place for a timeline of when and how they were going to do it and who was going to record it. Then obviously, COVID hit, and that changed everything for the band. “Apart from the immediate questions of how we would even get in a room together, I think there were broader concerns about when and if we would ever be able to function again as we had up to that point”, explains Norton. The merry-go-round of being a working band had completely stopped for Puppy, like so many other bands, musicians, artists, promoters, the entire music industry in general. Though for, the three friends, they pushed themselves through to ‘the other side’ and tried to gain back focus and creative inspiration. “After a bit of soul searching and feeling like we were at the mercy of what was going on around us, we decided we wanted to try and wrestle back a bit of control to secure our own future as three friends who enjoy getting together and making music, regardless of what that meant in the bigger picture. In light of that, we decided to invest some time and money converting our rehearsal space in East London into a working studio and record the album there. We roped in our friend Rory Attwell to help us with some of the trickier bits (recording drums) and then just sort of figured out how to do the rest ourselves.” This did mean that the whole process became a lot longer for Puppy, but it was something that became actual, genuine ‘fun’. “It was a big learning curve, but feeling like there were much more important things going on in the world kind of took the pressure off a bit in a good way. We just focused on having fun and enjoying ourselves, which when you strip everything away is really the place you want to be, I guess.”
Stand out tracks like the huge current single …And Watched It Glow, with its gargantuan wall of noise guitars, and Shame, which is built around a crazy, blown out bass and drums groove with lead guitars that sound like Randy Roads soundtracking Blade Runner (“like super shred guitar hero stuff but with this real melancholic atmosphere around it”). Another key album track is Glacial, which was added in at the 11th hour WAY past any ‘handing in music deadlines’ had passed. “We had the album done and felt like it was missing one more banger, so then we turned this track around in like a week from writing to recording in order to ‘meet’ our deadline, and it’s possibly the best song on there. Often, we can toy around with songs and arrangements for ages, but that one came straight out the box in pretty much its finished form. It’s so short and tightly constructed, but I think it sums up our band really well.” Summing up this wonderful new album and the struggle to create and carry on during all of *this*, Jock puts it neatly and perfectly, “To us, the whole thing feels like a time capsule of this weird limbo period, and I think that comes across on the album, or at least I hope it does. Postcards from the edge or whatever.”
Earning early comparisons to acts like The Smashing Pumpkins, Dinosaur Jr and “Weezer fronted by Papa Emiritus of Ghost’” (Noisey), Puppy have cemented their status as the oddballs of up & coming heavy music with performances at festivals Glastonbury, Download UK, 2000 Trees and Bloodstock Open Air to name a few. Early tracks Forever and The Great Beyond were picked up and used in the mammoth video game series Guitar Hero, while previous single ‘The Kiss’ was featured on both The Rock Show and Indie Show on BBC Radio 1. Previous singles have also seen Australian support from HEAVY Mag, MANIACS, Milky, AAA Backstage, RTR FM, SYN FM and 4ZZZ.
…And Watched It Glow is available worldwide now via Rude Records
‘Pure Evil’ is out May 6th – PRE-SAVE HERE
Connect with PUPPY
With thanks to Good Intent