Purity Ring - Shrines

In January of 2011 a friend of mine shared with me an unassuming Vimeo video that would end up being played over and over again on my computer, much to the chagrin of those around me. The track was Purity Ring’s “Ungirthed” and I couldn’t find much about them online except for the fact that Purity Ring is Megan James and Corin Roddick and that they were from Edmonton. In the year and a half since then, more news about the duo - now based in Montreal (Roddick) and Halifax (James) – slowly trickled out until they exploded onto the radar after playing a critically acclaimed set at SXSW. Over the course of the next few months, two more singles and album artwork were released on Pitchfork along with extensive tour dates. It now seemed that everyone was talking about Purity Ring. 

Their debut album Shrines, officially released by Last Gang Records on July 24th, was absolutely worth the wait. Each track on Shrines is beautiful and distinct when played alone but when listened to as a whole they are impeccable, thanks to James’s cheerfully haunting vocals layered over Roddick’s meticulously crafted percussion. James’s lyrics are playfully masochistic and bring physicality to the shimmering cues of Roddick’s instrumentals. Her soprano lilts over the music and then is often reflected back by Roddick distorted, through the low timbre of an octave modulator. Her voice is exalting in songs like “Saltkin” and “Fineshine” while “Grandloves” (my favourite song on the album which features a sample from Young Magic’s “You With Air”), seems seductive at first listen and then mournful on the second. 

That’s the thing I love about this album and a major reason I can’t stop listening to it - each track changes in feeling each time you listen. I would recommend listening to the album the entire way through and then revisiting your favourite tracks one by one.


Listen to: Grandloves, Fineshrine