Purity Ring, Young Magic

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Editorial Review

By Dan Miller
Friday, January 11, 2013

It’s rare to find a debut album that’s completely polished and assured and comes with its own remarkable perspective. But that’s precisely what Canadian duo Purity Ring offers on its stunning debut, “Shrines.”

Soundsmith Corin Roddick has created a distinct sonic palette. Although a pop album at heart, “Shrines” is a dark, electronic fantasy populated by lightly propulsive beats, throbbing keyboards and ghostly digitized voices.

Complementing Roddick’s soundscapes are singer Megan James’s airy, sweet vocals. The innocence of her voice makes her sometimes gory lyrics even more unsettling. On the haunting “Belispeak,” James urges, “Drill little holes into my eyelids . . . that I might see you in my sleep.” On the catchiest song, “Fineshrine,” she beckons, “Cut open my sternum and pull / My little ribs around you.”

Nearly every track stands out as a potential single, with none running together. In fact, they all differ greatly -- from the optimism of opener “Crawlersout” and the wandering drone of “Lofticries” to the quiet groove of “Obedear.” The only misfire is “Grandloves,” which features woefully out-of-place guest rap vocals by Young Magic.

With its boldly original sound and gorgeously dark pop sensibilities, “Shrines” is a true accomplishment by any standard.