When Purity Ring first came onto the music scene in 2010, it was the result of a chance collaboration between two members of a larger band, Born Gold. After being signed to 4AD Records, Canadian duo Megan James and Corin Roddick released their debut album, Shrines, in 2012, introducing the world to their signature synthpop sound. Now after three years, Purity Ring is back with their sophomore album, Another Eternity, solidifying their artistic style and musical persona.
Another Eternity combines many of the same musical elements heard in Shrines, with strong beat tracks that show evidence of hip hop influences, contrasting with the ethereal and sweet tone of Megan James’ vocals. The album starts off strong with “Heartsigh," a track whose first few bell-like notes give way to a thumping beat and Purity Ring’s familiar electronic mixings. Following this is “Bodyache," beginning with a similar, even brighter, fairy tale-like intro, and accompanied by melancholy lyrics such as, “I lied now I’m lying awake / I cried ‘til my body ache” and “You feared a lonely death / like a lake leaves you alone in her depths,” which tempts at a rather poetic sadness.
Other highlights of the album include “Push Pull” and “Begin Again,” which were both released as singles along with “Bodyache" earlier this year. “Repetition” also stands out with its mellow beat that remains more level throughout the song, contrasting the more pronounced bass drops heard in some of the album's other tracks. This slow burning beat pairs well with the somewhat sinister lyrics, such as, “Watching me is like watching a fire take your eyes from you / Hope it isn’t repetition / Though that’s the only thing that keeps and takes you,” which evokes a sense of suffering as well as an undeniable desire in a cyclical relationship of love and pain.
Purity Ring’s music contains many points of contrast; after all, their name itself suggests innocence and perhaps a sense of naiveté that is certainly not present in their musical stylings or lyrics. We see this in their use of hip hop beats as well as the lyrics from both Shrines and Another Eternity, which often bring up themes of depression, heartbreak, and a distinct focus on the human body. With lines like, “Cut open my sternum, and pull / My little ribs around you” and “Climb up in my rattling spine and I'll contract / Tell me I'm the only one and I'll move back,” Purity Ring occasionally uses graphic descriptions of the body to make the emotion of their lyrics even more tangible to the listener.
With Another Eternity however, the overarching theme of continuity and renewal is clearly present. This second album serves to further establish Purity Ring’s sound, building on and continuing with the recognizable synthpop style that was first heard on Shrines. And with song titles like “Repetition” and “Begin Again,” as well as the album title of Another Eternity, it is clear that this particular wording was a conscious choice of its creators. While this sophomore album is far from a slump, it is also not quite in the realm of revolutionary. However, having been formed only five years ago and boasting the potential for plenty more albums to come, Purity Ring still has plenty of time to surprise their listeners.
Photos courtesy of purityringthing.com and The Examiner.