Purity Ring
Shrines


4.5
superb

Review

by Major Tom CONTRIBUTOR (139 Reviews)
July 19th, 2012 | 132 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Sleek, sexy, ultra-modern electronic pop with a deceptively dark underbelly…

Purity Ring have had more buzz emanating from them than a wasp’s arse ever since audio of sublime cuts like ‘Lofticries’ fluttered around YouTube and the like. Their mysterious, under-wraps approach has only added to the Canadian duo’s appeal, and so it’s joyous to finally witness the time for them to step out of the shadows and present LP number 1, ‘Shrines’. That joy does not dissolve like a ripple of synth in one the 11 tunes on offer here, but blossom and evolve as one hears what surely has to be one of 2012’s finest albums unfold over the course of 40 outstanding minuets.

It’s all about streams of misty, sensual synths sliding across each other, flowing against an ever slight resistance, like fingers gliding through water. Set against this are laid back beats, minimal yet hooky, and ethereal, toned down Claire ‘Grimes’ Boucher-esque vocals (who coincidentally is a 4AD label mate). It seems simple on its beautiful surface but the Purity Ring formula treads a deeper route than first assumed. Megan James’ sensual, echo-laden voice deceptively utters such un-pure sentiments as “cut open my sternum and pull my little ribs around you” (on the brilliant ‘Fineshrine’), like a sexy yet simultaneously disturbing siren. It’s dark moody music masquerading as sleek modern electro pop, in other words, and all the more lasting and intriguing for it.

The music is as juxtaposing too, with ‘Lofticries’ sounding streamlined and as perfectly simple as anything but filtering in new layers as the seconds tick. Those dragged out synth lines, murmuring like muffled ghost cries, are pepped up by vaguely oriental twinkling keyboards and choppy drum machine snaps and claps. ‘Fineshrine’ sounds like a joyous pop song doused in murky black water, with only glimmers of gold shining through, making for another grade A tune. ‘Ungirthed’, the track that comes after, is another belter, a choppy, clipped melody enriched by wobbly bass shudders and quirky samples dotted here and there.

The set just refuses to wain on quality, play after play, with mysterious and subtly melancholic numbers such as ‘Obedear’ set at the back; it’s as consistent and brilliant a listen as you’re likely to hear all year. The piece also feels of a part but manages to find enough room to show distinction, with ‘Grandloves’ throwing in curveball male vocals in the midst of its drowned R&B vibe. There’s more that could be said about Purity Ring but not much that would be worthwhile as such time could be spent unearthing the glory of these subtle, uber-modern alt pop songs, absorbing their layers of glistening light and devilish darkness. Purely brilliant; sinful to miss.

Highlights: ‘Fineshrine’, ‘Ungirthed’, ‘Obedear’, ‘Belispeak’ ‘Lofticries’



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user ratings (345)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
July 19th 2012


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Haven’t reviewed anything in over a month and this thing made me want to write about new music again. It’s goooooooood.

Stream: http://www.npr.org/2012/07/15/156553168/first-listen-purity-ring-shrines


StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
July 19th 2012


2719 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

All aboard the hype train, fuck yeh. I'm not as enamoured by this as most peoploe seem to be but it's still very good.

Solid review. pos.

Kiran
Emeritus
July 19th 2012


6002 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

haven't heard this yet but 'lofticries' and, later,'belispeak' were on constant rotation on my ipod when they were released, which must've been over a year ago

auberginedreams
July 19th 2012


6077 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i like this album a lot, especially the lyrics. i just wish this guy would chill with the sidechaining though. it sounds cool in certain places but it doesn't need to be present throughout every single song, beginning to end. that and the soulja boy-esque beats that appear from time to time, i could definitely do without those as well. but all in all this is an impressive debut.

Digging: DIR EN GREY - Arche

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
July 19th 2012


31629 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

So I hear you borrowed your licks from Spandau Ballet

Digging: Theo Parrish - American Intelligence

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
July 19th 2012


7427 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Need to hear this, only heard good things.

ZedO
July 19th 2012


1096 Comments


ultra-modern electronic pop? seems tasty.. pos

FelixCulpa
July 19th 2012


1240 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I was quite surprised how much I enjoyed this record in the end. Really stoked to see them live later this year as well.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
July 19th 2012


3781 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like this alot, but I wish it didn't sound so samey throughout. Dat sidechianing... Also, this whole time I thought the lyrics to Fineshrine were: "cut open my sternum and poke". Damn.

chambered49
July 19th 2012


1727 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

i think i'm leaning towards not liking this :/

Rev
July 19th 2012


9441 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

it's good, but many of the tracks are pretty throwaway status

bloc
July 19th 2012


35024 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Forgettable album

qwe3
July 19th 2012


21368 Comments


is anything here as good as belispeak also didnt that shit come out ages ago

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
July 19th 2012


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thanks to the people that left me a pos, appreciate it. for an album that's got a lot of 4 and 4.5's on here seems there's a lot of haters ha :/ but i can sorta guess why. it is kinda samey, but if you like the vibe then its 11 great tracks, if you're not keen its 11 ok tracks i guess... i'm the former, obviously.

wacknizzle
July 19th 2012


13704 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I didn't know this was out already, I need to check this out.

Digging: Phobocosm - Deprived

Kiran
Emeritus
July 19th 2012


6002 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

the parallels between purity ring and grimes are interesting, both coming out of montreal at the same time, probably having played the same venues and to the same crowds. i think blue hawaii are from montreal too.

plane
Staff Reviewer
July 19th 2012


6100 Comments


Could have been better/worse. Really good music, though. It is unfortunate (but mostly true) that you think the highlights are all the prerelease tracks. Having overplayed Ungirthed and Lofticries (still the two best) I have moved onto Amenamy and Fineshrine. Good review, agree that it feels uber-modern.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
July 19th 2012


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

some good stuff coming out of canada recently it seems. and we're kinda on the same page planewreck tho i think i may have scored this higher cos i reserved playing the pre-release track too much so i wouldn't be bored of em come lp time. fineshrine is just as good tho imo

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
July 19th 2012


7427 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

A rare example of a record we both enjoy. Will definitely be giveng this more play time.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
July 19th 2012


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

rare is the key word. can't remember the last time this happened ali ha



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