Purity Ring – Another Eternity
The Canadian duo's second album mixes synthpop, trap music and hints of EDM into something joyous but fleeting
Purity Ring never quite had that crossover of a Lorde or a Chvrches despite using a similar pallet of buoyant but brooding electronic pop sounds. Their nevertheless well-regarded début Shrines failed to provide a killer hit (the kind of Spotify-hogging, Grammy-winning, YouTube-flogging mega-tune that elevates an artist into the sales stratosphere) and meant that the Canadian duo remained a little bit outside the ‘hallowed ground’ of ubiquitous radio playlists or appearing on The One Show as background music.
So the duo of Megan James and Corin Roddick have been spared that scrutiny and left to perfect their slick vocal pop for a second album. Another Eternity doesn’t really tinker with a solid formula of glossy synth swashes and ominous beats, with vocalist James’ childlike timbre just the right side of not irritating. Plus there’s a reassuring lack of pretence to Purity Ring, who go for the jugular with élan, mixing up synthpop, trap music, and hints of EDM into a heady brew that leaves little to the imagination during their ten three-minute exaltations.
At the heart of enjoying Purity Ring lies the question: can you tolerate something joyous but equally ephemeral? There is nothing profound about their synthetic earworms but there is an undeniable, cloying, giddy rush with opener ‘Heartsigh’, the Jamie xx-ish calypso of ‘Bodyache’, the stalkerish ‘Stranger Than Earth’ with its creepy refrain of ‘I wasn’t thinking of you … again, again, again’ and its Avicii-esque build-up that doesn’t quite tip off a cliff into EDM mania.
Purity Ring, to their credit, have this impressive knack of cherry-picking some very gaudy pop tropes. Just when you feel they are about to lose their way, they lure you further in with another shiny, audio bauble to coo at – until the next one comes along shorty after. This kind of bait-and-switch pop won’t leave you rewarded for eternity but sometimes life is just too short to care. Purity Ring’s pleasures are fleeting, but at least they are plentiful.
Another Eternity is out Mon 2 Mar, on 4AD