Purity Ring's "Shrines"

Purity Ring's "Shrines"

  • Article by: Jon O'Brien
  • Posted: 07/19/2012

At the forefront of the occult-ish electro sub-genre known as “witch house,” Canadian duo Purity Ring became one of the blogosphere’s most talked about bands after uploading debut track, “Ungirthed,” a bewitching blend of jittery R&B rhythms, dub wobbles and arcade game bleeps, early last year. 

Perhaps encouraged by the overwhelming response, the pair have opted for the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach to their debut album, Shrines

Occasionally, the record, (largely indistinguishable on first listen), strays from their winning formula. “Obedear” is a more playful take on Crystal Castles’ brand of 8-bit electronica with its sugary sweet vocal samples and multi-layered Gregorian chants, while there’s a neat Chicago house breakdown which interrupts the twinkling dubstep of “Belispeak.” 

But for the most part, Corin Roddick’s textured soundscapes focus on a similar nightmarish fusion of spacious processed beats, ominous bass-lines and chiming sci-fi synths, all the while accompanied by the enchanting tones of Megan James, who delivers a stream of increasingly macabre and grotesque twisted fairytales (“Drill little holes into my eyelids / So I can see you when I sleep”).

It’s a unique “wall of sound,” which gradually begins to reveal more of its eerie nocturnal charms with each play, particularly the tense, doom-laden slow crawl of “Cartographist” and the strangely seductive collaboration with Young Magic, “Grandloves.”

They’ll perhaps have to change the record for album number two, but there’s little doubt that Shrines is one of the most hypnotic, if resolutely sinister, electro-pop offerings of the year.

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