Jack Daniel Betz

Purity Ring – Shrines

Purity Ring – Shrines
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By Jack Daniel Betz
When I saw Gobble Gobble open for Baths last year, I thought they were going places. Home-made  electronic percussion, day-glo synth-pop, and intensely interactive shows, how could you not draw positive attention even in this age of increasingly histrionic musicians? Well, I’ve heard little from Gobble Gobble since then but two of its members are making music headlines with their gothic trip-hop side-project: Purity Ring.

I’d heard about their music from friends who’d seen them open for Neon Indian, but after being unable to find any of their songs online I just kind of forgot about them. Well their debut “Shrines” came out on the 24th of July, and it’s receiving 9s and 10s from critics everywhere (and an 8 from Pitchfork, which is almost better than a 9 or a 10 anywhere else).

I was nearly as enthusiastic when I first blasted “Crawlersout” through the speakers of my car (windows up). Throbbing bass, break-beat down tempos, castanet-timbered hi-hat rhythms over saccharine-sweet female lyricists; add bassy chopped and screwed backup vocals. However, as the album drew on it became clear to me that this had already been done before, stylistically anyway. It’s called SALEM. And this is not as much of a dig as it sounds like.

I really enjoy the music, but since I know about the witch-house (invoking that pseudo-genre with tongue firmly planted in cheek) darlings SALEM, it doesn’t pose as much of a paradigm-shift. Zola Jesus and Picture-Plane have also already charted this territory. Although, the sweet, almost bubble-gum vocals does bring something to the table that none of Purity Ring’s predecessors have. Good stuff, just not as earth-shatteringly clever as some people might think. I definitely will try my hardest to attend a show the next opportunity I get.

Entry points: “Crawlersout,” “Shuck,” “Amenamy,” “Fineshrine”

  • Mac

    Just could not disagree more. Saw these guys live @ SXSW, and they were incredible. Live show included paper lamps that would illuminate when tapped. Very mesmerizing.

    As for the music, I’m not sure where you get a “bubble-gum tone” from an album that includes, among other dark themes, lyrics about the author’s struggles with bulimia (Belispeak).

    Also, I’d say more appropriate “entry points” would be Ungirthed, Belispeak, and Obedear.

    Give the album a second listen through. They deserve every bit of hype they’ve gotten over the past year or so leading up to this release.

    P.S. And the name of the song is “Crawlersout”

    • Jeck

      I will correct the typo. I think you’re misreading me though. Even though I’ve been
      a little critical, I really did like the album overall. I can’t wait to see them live.

      And as for the “bubble gum”, I’m only talking about her innocent, child-like, high pitches.
      You’re right though, normally that’s a word applied to subject matter. This is dark and that’s something I dig.

      Entry points though- I’m gonna have to stand my ground 😀