No one relays the dark corners of a young imagination quite like Purity Ring. Though only formed in 2010, the fresh-faced Canadian band has already gathered extensive recognition with their hypnotic mesh of indie, hip-hop, and electronica. The duo of Corin Roddick and Megan James (formerly of bands Gobble, Gobble and Born Gold) formed Purity Ring after some experimental recording together. Shortly thereafter, the band started gaining some serious blog buzz, resulting in the gradual release of five singles over the course of the past year. (Their first, the much-lauded “Lofticries” has nearly eight million YouTube views.) Shrines marks Purity Ring’s first full-length release, and one that comes with a whole lot of hype behind it.
Here, James’s sweet child song becomes strangely detached when combined with its synthesized backdrop. The naïve façade of her voice gives way to eerie imagery often centering on nature and the human body, as with “Fineshrine”: “Cut open my sternum and pull my little ribs around you,” she sings. The music video for Shrines’ second single, “Belispeak,” elucidates this story-book-gone-awry unease. James, stuck in the gut of some sort of grimy beast, pleads to her grandmother about a mysterious deterioration in health. On top of Shrines’ five spectacular singles, look out for the slow, suave groove of “Grandloves,” which pairs James’s fragility with a brief male rap counterpart. The album ends with the somewhat disturbing yet mesmerizing “Shuck,” in which James sings with startling serenity, “I’ll take up your guts, to the little shed outside.” What sets Purity Ring apart is the whimsical voice of James, which tiptoes between reality and illusion, and Roddick’s hybrid beats, which alter any preconceptions of electronic music. Currently touring with Dirty Projectors, Purity Ring will begin a headline tour next month to kick off the release of Shrines.