Formed in 2010, Purity Ring are a Canadian duo that uses electronic beats and exceptional lyrics that fit right in with other synth pop acts such as Goldfrapp, Grimes and Blood Orange. After their outstanding debut, Shrines there was a ton of anticipation for Purity Ring’s second LP. With its standouts such as “Lofticries”, “Fineshrine”, and “Obedear”, Purity Ring not only had one of the finest albums of 2012 but also definitely were much more indie than pop. The set was meant for the indie rock audience, a sensation on the blogs and on college radio stations.
With another eternity, Purity Ring are aiming for the mainstream. Gone is the surreal darkness, in its place is a set of light-hearted, catchy fair with a nod to the edm genre, like so much of what you hear on your typical Top 40 station. It isn’t all that bad, it’s just a touch surprising and definitely a departure for the band.
The new record, released on March 3, begins with “heartsigh”, a true pop song. It has a driving bass beat, which builds up into a gorgeous hook.
The opening single, “push pull”, features a synth drone and an explosive chorus in which singer Megan James proclaims: “You push and you pull and you tell yourself no”. It’s one of the highlights of the record, and it shows that for all the radio friendly music on the record, James and company haven’t lost their edge as songwriters.
The song “bodyache” might be the catchiest song on the entire album. It was released as the third single and has a beautiful piano driven beat that also has the typical edm dance thump of the rest of the album.
At times catchy can come at an expense. “repetition” is one of the examples of just that. It features a good hook but it abandons all of the darkness of the first record. It might not always be fair to judge a band based on their previous work, however, Purity Ring set the bar extremely high.
The best song on the record is “begin again”, which builds up during the bridge with a thumping bass beat, features a solid hook but an absolutely beautiful synth break down after each hook that hearkens back to artists such as Hot Chip.
Despite the loss of the sometimes claustrophobic darkness that was in Shrines, Purity Ring haven’t completely gone to the dark side. Their brand of synth pop, although much more palatable, isn’t quite as skin deep as most of the music that is ruling the pop world in 2015. With eye-popping hooks, and beautiful synth arrangements and gorgeous songwriting, Purity Ring is still able to hang on to its place among the indie music world.