Music / P / Purity Ring / News / Purity Ring's debut album 'Shrines'
- Purity Ring
- LetsSingIt Music Player
- play all songs
- 0, 0 of your friends
add to favorites
- More Purity Ring news
12/08/2012 Purity Ring's debut album 'Shrines'
- More artist news
Purity Ring - News
|Purity Ring's debut album 'Shrines'|
|12-08-2012 10:39 | 0 comment(s)|
| In early 2011 a song called "Ungirthed" by a group called Purity Ring started circulating online. There wasn't much information about them out there; they had a member that used to be in something called Gobble Gobble, which momentarily seemed notable. But everything you needed to know was contained in the song itself. It mixed the kind of ghostly pitch-shifted vocals, reminiscent of the Knife and Burial, that had spent the previous year haunting witch house; it had warped, surging, Dilla-derived synth chords that popular online remixers like Star Slinger were on the verge of turning into a cliché. And it had the stuttering start-stop drum machine patterns that highlighted how much the pulse of Southern rap had invaded indie music the last few years. But where these production touches were often held up as ends in themselves, "Ungirthed" was a well-constructed and fully realized pop song, with an infectious vocal hook and a melody that went places. This was novel. It was the kind of tune you took notice of immediately.|
Eventually we learned that "Ungirthed" was the work of Megan James (vocals) and Corin Roddick (production), two young musicians from Edmonton, Alberta. Wisely, they didn't rush out an album, but other songs trickled out: "Belispeak" surfaced in the fall and "Obedear" emerged this spring. Along the way, Purity Ring polished up their live show, outfitting the stage with lanterns synchronized to the music, which Roddick triggered via MIDI using drumsticks. They built an audience with very little recorded music to share with it. And now, a year and a half later, they've issued their debut album, Shrines.
Since those early singles all mined such similar sounds, it was an open question how Purity Ring might mix things up over the course of an 11-song, 38-minute full-length. But Shrines is not about range, instead offering subtly different versions of a single, near-perfect idea. You might think of the album as a sculpture, and each track offers a different vantage point. "Ungirthed" is how you see it head on; "Fineshrine" is what it looks like from a low angle, with a bit of shadow from the overhang providing an extra touch of darkness; "Crawlersout", with its sharper percussive edges and extra portion of ghosted vocals, is the view from 90 degrees to the left; and then "Grandloves", with unwelcome guest vocals from Isaac Emmanuel of Young Magic, is like having a guy standing between you and the work, and he won't stop talking on his cell. "Grandloves" is the one moment in which Purity Ring seem common, but that's one truly weak song out of 11. Not a bad ratio for a new band. And the consistent quality makes it easy to forgive the feeling that occasionally creeps in the first few times you hear the album straight through: "Didn't I just hear this one a couple of minutes ago?"
A quality that further elevates Shrines is the lyrics, and that's something that could be easily missed, since James' vocals are often heavily processed. They, too, offer variations on a theme. "Sea water's flowing from the middle of my thighs," are the first words we here on the opening track, "Crawlersout", and the focus on the body never lets up. From "Dig holes in me with wooden carved trowels," on "Grandloves" to "The crawling animals will seek all things warm all things moist, I will relentlessly shame myself," on "Saltkin", the words are impressionistic but always come back to sweat, skin, and bones. Fluids ooze in sympathy with the chords; hearts are given away by being ripped from ribcages. The lyrics are vivid and striking, even if it takes some work to parse them out. And the contrast between their bloody earthiness and music born of 1s and 0s gives the record an appealing push/pull and provides the album with some additional staying power. These songs, so instantly catchy, have more to offer over time.
The band that Purity Ring most reminds me of is High Places. The dubbed-out retro-futuristic approach to sound, the male/female duo, the connection to the earlier iterations of indie pop, the experiments with live spectacle. And High Places also emerged more or less fully formed, with the singles and EPs collected on 03/07 - 09/07 pulling together au courant influences into something that felt personal and new. But ever since, High Places have had some difficulty figuring out where to go next. Once you own a sound and make it your own, it's not always easy to leave it behind. We'll see how that plays out with Purity Ring. For now, the compulsively listenable Shrines stands quite well on its own. Most bands never manage a statement this forceful.
|Be the first one to comment »|