Review Summary: Another Eternity is pop, perfected.
Purity Ring’s debut album Shrines
was released in 2012 and remains one of my favourite albums of this decade so far. I’ve been eagerly awaiting its follow-up since then and Another Eternity
, which leaked this month, has lived up to all my expectations. Purity Ring have altered their sound and it’s probably too early to say if it’s for the better, but the changes are welcome and make for a dynamic sophomore record.
The biggest modification made to their sound is that it’s decidedly more pop, and if that word makes you hesitant, it shouldn’t – Another Eternity
is pop, perfected. After Shrines
was criticised for sticking too closely to a singular sound, it’s refreshing to hear Corin Roddick and Megan James branch out into new sonic territory and draw from a greater variety of influences. “Bodyache”, with its glistening synth intro, trap-influenced bass and energetic, staccato chorus is more fun than anything on Shrines
, and fun has clearly become one of the most important attributes for the band (just look at their cover of Soulja Boy’s “Grammy”, released between albums).
Lead single “Push Pull” is another example: it’s clearly a Purity Ring song – it doesn’t sound too different from “Fineshrine” (from Shrines
) and is lyrically just as visceral (“Make a ladder of what folds / and climb up in me”), but its atmosphere isn’t nearly as dark or brooding. Megan James’ vocals are also mixed to be louder on both the track and the entire album, which shifts the focal point of the band’s sound away from Roddick’s production and towards her voice, a definite change for the better. Compare Shrines
’ “Ungirthed” to Another Eternity
’s “Begin Again” (the song that would sonically fit in most readily on their first album) and the improvement in vocal clarity is striking. However, production hasn’t taken a backseat as much as its shifted to share the spotlight, and the post-chorus breakdown in “Begin Again”, the EDM-esque drop in “Flood On The Floor” and the slow-burning instrumental crescendo in “Stranger Than Earth” are all highlights of Corin Roddick’s work on the synths.
Pitchfork, in their review of Shrines
, described that album as a beautiful sculpture viewed at from all angles. Another Eternity
smashes the sculpture and throws a party amongst the rubble, concerned primarily no longer with aesthetic beauty but with sensory stimulation. It seems aimed at the charts, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with this. Created formulaically with the biggest pop hits of the 2010s in mind, the album’s 10 tracks are designed to draw you in instantly, and they undoubtedly succeed at this. Eternity
offers more than a sugar rush, however, as there’s serious talent behind the shimmering synthscapes and catchy hooks, and Purity Ring’s lyrical depth and attention to detail in songwriting ensure the album has lasting value as well.