4AD/Last Gang Records
By Jesse Espana
Electro-pop masterminds Purity Ring are back with their sophomore album and are proving that the time between this and their first release was well worth the wait.
The March 3rd release date will mark close to 3 years since the Edmonton duo’s first release, Shrines, was graciously presented to the world. If you, for some reason, missed that release then another eternity is your chance to make up for that mistake.
It must be said that the album stylizes its album title and individual song titles in lower case, thus what you are about to read is not a matter of grammatical errors – it is in keeping with the album’s distinct presentation.
Purity Ring exhibit a slightly darker sound on another eternity with less of the bubbly synth sounds from their first album. It leaves much more space between sounds, whereas I found many songs off Shrines to always have something going on, some sort of sound or filler. This collection of songs hits harder and evokes a larger array of emotion.
Singer Megan James has managed to take her voice to a different level. As expected on a follow-up album, listeners can hear a sort of confidence that wasn’t there before. She commands each song, especially the single “bodyache,” “push pull,” and “begin again.” Whether it’s a matter of experimenting a bit more or just letting loose, James has her craft on lockdown and it’s on showcase here. She’s smooth, articulate and meaningful with her words. Any use of autotune is strictly for effect.
The second half on Purity Ring is Corin Roddick. His instrumentation could easily be found under numerous hip-hop tracks today. “stranger than earth” is a perfect example, sounding a lot like a Childish Gambino track. Songs like “sea castle” feature almost sinister sounding piano and synth. The heavy hip-hop influence along with James’ vocals are a seamless paring that have created some of the most weightless but heavy-hitting music I’ve heard in a while.
James’ has a voice like an angel, an angel who’s struggling to combat a dark and woozy state of mind. As listeners, we’re just along for that struggle to find out how it ends.
Every element of this album has purpose and can be heard without distraction from what’s going on around it. Purity Ring’s newest album is futuristic and elegant that begs for fans to get lost in. Fans should be both pleasantly surprised by this release as well as right at home. There’s just no better way Purity Ring could have followed up their already iconic and powerful sound.