Purity Ring – Shrines

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Championing the genre of ‘future pop’ just as 4AD label mate Grimes did with the release of Visions earlier this year, Montreal duo Purity Ring’s debut is brimming with throbbing synths and dreamy vocals. Consisting of vocalist Megan James and everything else-ist Corin Roddick, the pair have created one of the most exciting, critically acclaimed albums of the year, which suggests only further success.

Coming to prominence in early 2011 when the pair uploaded ‘Ungirthed’ onto the internet, they have been the subject of hype from music lovers ever since. Several demos and 18 months later and Shrines has been released, featuring 5 of their previously heard tracks, alongside 6 new songs,

The record kicks off to ‘Crawlersout’ with it’s slow tempo and glittering waves of vocoder’d electro-melodies. Recent single and early album highlight ‘Fineshrine’ packs a real punch with it’s streams of bass and eerie chorus of “Cut open my sternum and pull / my little ribs around you”. I’m not really sure what this means but it sounds pretty drastic, doesn’t it? ‘Ungirthed’ begins with 808s that crackle like popping candy and warped layers of James singing “Dead voices cover their bones / Refill their quiet tones / with vessels of earth / and the cry of detritioning bones” whilst ‘Grandloves’ features Young Magic’s echoing vocals, and climaxes with the amalgamation of crescendoing synths and a harp.

‘Cartographist’ is another of the album’s highlights as it overflows with post-dubstep doomy bass and the feel of a drowsy dancefloor lullaby thanks to James’ alluring falsetto. However, ‘Belispeak’ is altogether busier and more intense as James sings “Drill little holes into my eyelids / that I might see you / that I might see you when I sleep”.

There is a slight lull towards the end of the record with ‘Saltkin’ as it repeats much of what has already been heard but it is difficult to criticise this album. Hauntingly dark vocals and intricately crafted instrumentation make this an album to remember, and at 38 minutes long it is just the right length to stop the listener getting bored.

The pair have created an LP which is introverted and modest with oscillating waves of synths that will wash over you, leaving you feeling more chilled out than you’ve ever been. It brims with bass and an overwhelming, all-enveloping number of layers which jar beautifully with the dark themes which are sung about. A brilliant debut from one of the year’s most exciting bands.

8/10

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