Although Canadian duo Purity Ring, composed of Megan James and Corin Roddick, is oft-compared to the likes of other indie-electronic artists such as CHVRCHES and Grimes, it manages to boast a distinctly unique sound, self-dubbed “future pop.” Roddick, the producer, draws from a diverse pool of trap and hip-hop influences to augment and innovate their songs’ pop melodic structure, while James, the vocalist, juxtaposes her delicate vocals and descriptive, almost grotesque, lyrics in order to create a strangely harmonious musicality. This worked well with their first album, shrines, which received wide critical acclaim. Because they later went on to work with big names Danny Brown and Ab-Soul, as well as being signed to 4AD records, Purity Ring can safely say that its debut was a success.
But with the release of their sophomore effort, another eternity, it’s become apparent that they spent their time recreating a sound that had already been heard, rather than moving past their past accolades. The 10-song collection, spanning a succinct 35 minutes, is an attempt to woo listeners with synth-saturated soundscapes inundated with incessant reverb productions, which tire rather than entrance. Despite its brevity, another eternity drags along — its sound becomes weary and repetitive halfway through. It lacks the down-to-earth tracks that anchor an album, while its overly ambitious tracks fail to sufficiently impress.
The highlight of the album, however, is James’ inspired lyricism. The surreal imagery works in conjunction with the visceral anatomical details, creating a staggering effect that attests to the brilliance of her writing. “Make your way through my tears, and I’ll relax / If you’re the truest one, I’m gonna make you a season / Climb up in my rattling spine, and I’ll contract,” James whispers in “Repetition.”
Interestingly enough, in a recent Reddit “Ask Me Anything,” James stated that many of the lyrics to her songs came from nonlyrical things that she had written prior to creating the album, often taken from dreams and memories. The only song for which she had written specifically was “bodyache,” the second track from another eternity.
For all of its misses, another eternity contains hit tracks that elevate an otherwise subpar album to a work that is still disappointingly just adequate. Roddick smartly downplays his indulgence in decadent melodies in “bodyache” and instead uses them to complement James’ whimsical vocalizations. The immense potential that Purity Ring has is best shown in the track “sea castle.” It is the end product of a perfect combination of Roddick’s bass-heavy, synth-infused compositions with the elegance of James’ voice and the beauty of her lyrics.
‘another eternity’ is available now on iTunes and wherever CDs are sold.
Contact Joshua Gu at [email protected]