Album Review: Purity Ring—“Another Eternity”

 By Claire Cowan

Vocalist Megan James and producer Corin Roddick switch gears in the duo’s sound to give us Another Eternity, their first album since the release of the debut 2012 LP Shrines. Considering today’s music landscape, Purity Ring takes a turn from the omnipresent dub-step formulas and slower beats, to the realm of a synth-pop power. James with her tiny voice, matched with massive vocals, keeps the group’s sound in check while transferring from one album to the next, while Roddick shifts his perspective to appeal to the masses, leaving majority of the chilliness in his synths to be replaced with a bubbly pop sound, closing the gap between Top 40 and indie-pop vibes alike.

Album art for Another Eternity

Album art for Another Eternity

Roddick produces tracks that constantly shift in sound, picking up and dropping the tempo, allowing for James’ vocal fluctuations to take center stage. The two take turns throughout the tracks, essentially mimicking duet between instrumentals and vocals. Keeping grounded to the core of human existence, James sings to the bare bones of human composition in the track “bodyache” where melodies chant, “You sweat, and you bled/ I couldn’t look because your body, your body would shake”. With the instrumental lulls and the formulae of trap production forming in the background, the deep bass from Shrines makes a slight appearance during the chorus of “push pull”, where the entire track makes you wonder just how different synth-pop is from Billboard-ranked pop hits. Notable mention to “begin again”, as it seems to be the one song on repeat since I came across the fact that Purity Ring was releasing tracks from Another Eternity, which seems to work out any kinks between the duo, bringing some of their best work together for the mid-track list heavy hitter.

Lyrically, as opposed to focusing on the common themes seen in music today, James and Roddick focus solely on the simplest forms of human connection, bodies, tears, aching, and lonely sighs. Reading the lyrics unaccompanied by the music itself makes one realize just how influential a voice, or an instrumental, can be. Sounding melodramatic and depressing on a surface level, the two bring light and adorable happiness to the most depressing of words, often causing a double take as to why James isn’t singing about basic relationship problems, lipstick, and cars.

Another Eternity is the perfect musical shift from Shrines, as Purity Ring has grown an adapted with the current music trends, maturely realizing what it takes to make it big in music today, even if that involves an alteration in the group’s overall sound. Being from Canada and hearing the sounds coming out of the country constantly adapting, developing and becoming part of a worldwide sound, excites me in the sense that Purity Ring and groups alike are developing their own twist on pop music, adding to the diversity of the overall genre. (4AD)

Listen: “begin again”

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