When Purity Ring’s debut Shrines emerged from the ether in 2012, there was a sense that indie pop music had just been reborn. The duo helped to move the tide from guitars to synthesisers, through this changing indie pop, with tracks like ‘Fineshrine’ and ‘Anemamy’ setting a precedent. Three years on from this musical landmark, Another Eternity is released into an increasingly diverse and innovative music scene. Without the advantage of novelty on their side, a distinct aesthetic is enough to distance themselves from the music scene already crawling with electro-indie-pop voices. On their debut Megan James and Corin Roddick sounded singular and distinct, and they remain so now.
From the first track ‘Heartsigh’ it is impossible not to differentiate Purity Ring from their imitators, with the crisp clear production and ethereal voice of James a cut above. ‘Bodyache’ picks up exactly where Shrines left off with the simple addition of a melodic sprinkling of trap and R&B into the stylisation. The duo have spent the last few years collaborating with big name rappers (Angel Haze and Danny Brown to name a few) and these have clearly had an influence, especially the strong build-up of trap beats on ‘Flood On The Floor’’ – completed by blippy hip-hop vocals and colossal drops. James’ vocal approach is as staccato and controlled as ever, the standout tracks of see the delicious recipe of her voice soaring over synth, whispers in both, while the chopped narrative of ‘Sea Castle’ is a lullaby ballad with an auto-tune corrected melody. It is clear that the band have experimented with their production, which sounds as if it was created by men in sanitised white coats doing lab tests on the pair’s MacBook and voice, a perfectly clean product of scientific discovery.
There is a shift in theme from crafted mythical environments to the grit and grim of doomed relationships here on earth. The lyrics explore introspective adult themes such as relationships and break ups in terms of physical acts (“climb up in my rattling spine and I’ll contract” and “there’s a light in my skin that’s been dimmed” on ‘Repetition’). The physicality of the lyrics make the band appear more earth-bound and more visceral than ever before. Even the song titles have moved away from the mythical to the physical and real.
Another Eternity is a worthy successor to Shrines, with just enough keening vocals to recall its fans and enough diverse beats to keep them wanting more. The melodies are tender, the vocals whispy but the production is diverse and the sampling beautifully blended. Purity Ring have built on the foundations of the old to create something new.