Targeting an audience that I believe includes even themselves showing a thorough enjoyment of their craft, Purity Ring swells beautifully with their debut album, Shrines, available now on 4AD records. Dispersing out of rival sound mates, Gobble Gobble and Born Gold, Purity Ring is a duo made up of Montreal, Quebec natives Corrin Roddick and Megan James. Dreamy at times (Crawlersout), with shimmering synths and picturesque melodies, there is a haunting beauty, almost terrifying, that surrounds the listener, almost as if one is sitting inside a sonic cocoon while taking it all in. Purity Ring show mature characteristics in their ability to navigate the synth programming, layered with lush vocals and careful drum beats. Roddick’s main instrument is the drums and more distinctively, percussion, which showcases itself in a revitalizing manner, uniting their synth pop house vibe with vivid and grand vocal frills. Their live shows include Roddick and James situated behind a lighted trigger system, which acts as a frantic light show and instrumental vehicle. Their first live show was performed at Sled Island in 2011.
Each track on Shrines provides a personified look into the interwoven lyrical concepts and the dynamic build-up of the complex rhythms and lo-fi bass drops. “Grandloves” half-time feel interrupts the mechanics of some of the previous songs on the record with an airy yet pulsing beat. The song flawlessly balances James and Roddick’s vocals. “I’m in love with truth, sick and tired of this youth, and thinking that you’ve fallen but you’re stone when you’re holding me” sings Roddick with a morsel of honesty. Most of the lyrical concepts include poignant visual imagery and honest, metaphorical groans. I was pleasantly surprised when the lyrical nature of the songs coincided with the timing and dynamics of the music. As in moments such as, “Lofticries” when the beat stops for a measure only to enter with James’s sultry voice echoing, “you must be hovering over yourself, watching us trip on each other’s sides.” It is quite a spiritual moment when you allow that line to sink in only then to hear the beat re-enter and the bass drop back in. Truly hovering over yourself as if in a dream there is little left to be desired with this album.
Often confused for busyness, there is a bit of monotony as the album progresses however, with each song portraying some of the same qualities. But for a debut album I think this is a valiant effort and it will be found slowly integrating into my musical repertoire especially with songs like, “Grandloves” and “Lofticries”. The post-dub step sound executes stunningly with bouts of auto-tune vocals and purely expressed synth melodies, which ultimately will situate nicely with anyone who likes a nice floaty groove.