Lurid Purple Flowers’ single begins with just frontwoman CA Newcomb sparring with an electric guitar riff. Newcomb is a powerful singer, too, sounding a little like the combination of Ann (Heart) Wilson and Janis Joplin. She’s a hurricane vocalist, rather than a delicate stylist. She’s also out of the gate fast on “Mania,” like a speedy racehorse, at full force and full speed and with no sign of letting up until every drop of emotion is drained out of the 3:43 of this track.
Instrumentally, Newcombe is backed by the aforementioned electric guitar, bass, drums and slightly in the background, harmonica (or it might just be a guitar that sounds like a harmonica, underneath it all). This is a bluesy song, but much more rock than traditional blues. In fact, it’s sung and played with punk rock spirit. Had a band like, say, X, started in ‘50s Chicago, and not ‘70s Los Angeles, they might just have sounded something like this. There is guitar soloing going on, but this isn’t a situation where an electric guitar solo is placed, say, in the middle of the song. No, one can hear speedy notes running all the way through the track.
Lurid Purple Flowers is an underground Boston band. The act’s press states how the group also incorporates psychedelic and funk musical elements into its overall sound, but you won’t hear evidence of those styles here. This is a loud, lumbering, near-metal hard rock song. It’s all guitar, all the time, with no letting up.
It’s not obvious what these lyrics are about, but Newcombe does sing about how “I’ve got to be a fool for staying this long,” at one point. This is, without a doubt, concerning a toxic relationship. The woman in this partnership is mistreated and ready to move on – right away. ‘Mania,’ which is also known as manic syndrome, is a mental and behavioral disorder. It’s defined as a state of abnormally elevated arousal, affect, and energy level. And certainly, Newcombe sounds manic on this track. It’s the sound of one that’s been pushed too far and has decided it’s time to call an end to all the craziness. Just what this other person has done to her has – not kidding here – driven her a little crazy. It’s almost as though a panic has set in. It’s like in the movies when one character suddenly realizes that another character is a murderer or killer of some kind. This relationship must pass from the present tense to the past tense – pronto!
Although this track will certainly appeal to fans of heavy metal, it is not a heavy metal song. It’s too smart and too emotional to be like so many cartoon-character heavy metal songs, which seem to be based on fantasy novels and superhero movies, instead of real-life situations. This song is one woman’s response to a dangerously negative relationship. There are no dragons to slay, no devils to worship and no colorful villains to discover. Instead, it’s a personal account of a coupling that’s gone all wrong.
Lurid Purple Flowers has given the appropriate sonic voice to an obviously manic situation with “Mania.”