Featured Album of the Week Review: Purity Ring - Shrines
Purity Ring - Shrines (Out April 23, 2012 on 4AD)
Purity Ring is a band that has been getting a lot of buzz over the past year or so. Being hailed as a fresh face in the genre of indie-electronica is a nice complement, but does their latest album stack up with the competition?
After hearing Shrines, I'll say that it is a very interesting listen. It's electronica at its best, and Purity Ring does a great job of having a distinctive sound, but some of the same faults that have been plaguing the genre for a while are still present here.
Similar to Metric, you'll find female vocals at the front carrying the songs, which I gotta say is a great fit with the spacey dance tracks. Megan James more than holds her own with a simultaneously strong and innocent quality to her voice. Yet, Purity Ring is by no means Metric. While still synthpop, this album isn't stadium thumping in the same way that Synthetica was.
Quite the contrary, the album has more of a “this is the best damn basement show I have ever seen” feel to it. This is probably due to the hip-hop like beats underneath each track. There is also less synth than expected, making the vocals and the beats really shine in each track. The clever usage of repeating sounds (sometimes vocals, sometimes not) is another neat trick PR uses to give them their sound. Before I continue, I want to say that there were times this album reminded me of that scene in The Fifth Element where that blue lady is singing a weird electronic/hip hop/opera. This is not a bad thing.
However, Shrines falls to many of the same challenges other bands in the genre have faced. Lyrics get lost very easily at times, and on start to finish listen of the record some tracks get lost as well. No song is bad by any means, but that feeling of “sameness” as the album progresses is the only thing holding this album back.
Check out Shrines if you are a fan of hip hop, Metric, and/or electronic music in general. You will be pleasantly surprised at what you find, Purity Ring follows the rules while simultaneously adding a flair that puts them a step ahead of the rest.