Purity Ring – Shrines

Album Review by Bram E. Gieben | 04 Jul 2012
  • Purity Ring – Shrines
Album title: Shrines
Artist: Purity Ring
Label: 4AD
Release date: 24 July

Where Grimes' work is all about ambiguity, fellow Canucks Purity Ring offer a vision of synth pop which is clear and polished as crystal. Corin Roddick's productions incorporate the sugar-sweet melodies and dynamics of R&B and pop, with a liberal use of side-chained beats and synths, evoking bands like Blackbird Blackbird. His stuttering snare hits and clipped, jerking beats nod to dubstep and electro, incorporating an ethereal, jittery quality into the deadly hooks.
Above all this, the phenomenal voice and lyrics of Megan James. She has the tone and range of an angel, voice buffed to a perfect-pop sheen, but it is her lyrics that will haunt you. Her imagery is stark and disturbing: “Cut open my sternum,” she purrs on Fineshrine. Dismemberment and disfigurement are recurring themes: “Drill little holes into my eyelids,” she sings on Belispeak, “so I can see you when I sleep.” The stark menace of her words is such a contrast to her pop princess delivery that the disconnect is profoundly affecting. This is glistening, perfect pop music with a vein of cold, dark intelligence running through it. Utterly enchanting.