Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Purity Ring - Shrines

An electric guitar riff, middle C, reverb—no genre holds propriety on these building blocks of sound. But as radio-friendly R&B becomes increasingly minimal and weird and art students are encouraged to experiment with hip-hop beats, there is a swath of music being produced today that hovers in a nondescript void. The artist’s voice, and its carotid attachment to biography, becomes the ultimate decider insofar as how a particular work is compartmentalized. Prior to the vocal track, such gonadal pop sounds could birth either R&B or indie-bound electro-pop. The splintering of genres, a homogenized generational sound, the democracy of production—are these good problems? Probably too soon to tell, but Purity Ring’s Shrines is a timely case-study.

Shrines is chop and screw with sparkles, brought to you by Corin Roddick and Megan James of Canada. Dark, undulating bass tones are ornamented with hopeful synth lines and melodic asides as scintillating tangents. Everything is hyphenated, with James the cherubic narrator that mends the abbreviated songscape into a post-apocalyptic tome on how to make someone love you. She succeeds rather casually, as if the whole thing was miraculously captured verbatim from a hypnagogic state, and it sounds just as it did in the half-dream. The lyrics engender a state of play. Picking up small household objects, all within reach, James details anatomical procedures that affix obsession to truth. With such imagination, metaphors revert back to a literal state.

But Shrines is far from the literal, expository confessionals of artists like Drake, The-Dream and The Weeknd. While James, 24, and Roddick, 21, are a bit too old to have been conceived during The Postal Service’s Give Upor The Knife’s “Heartbeats,” their existence is owed more to these bands than any go-to quiet storm. And to align them with everyone’s favorite songs of 2003 is not a disservice. Shrines does resonate as the work of students, but nothing is haphazard, too precious, or “dark” just for the hell of it. Purity Ring are the conscientious ones, capable of carving an emotively keen place for you to hideout for awhile.
-Elizabeth Murphy

from Agit Reader

I liked this album way more than I thought I would. Purity Ring could be the Adventure Time house band. There is something legitimately wholesome about them. And in the wake of non-sensical violence at the hands of a 20-something this past week, Shrines was a welcome gift of respite. Probably a necessary exhibition of the alternative to the alternative upon any diagnoses of ennui.