Purity Ring, the Canadian electronic duo of Corin Roddick and Megan James, sounds like water so freezing cold it shocks your skin—it’s surprising, uncomfortable, and disorienting. Icy-blue notes appear throughout their debut full-length album, Shrines, as James’ aloof-but-assertive vocals go in and out of focus, trading places moment to moment with spastic synthesizers. Roddick handles that instrument, turning delicate melodies and bottomed-out bass—so low it verges on electrical current—into a haunted soundscape. Opener “Crawlersout” leads into album highlight “Fineshrine,” three minutes of feigned innocence in which James’ delicate voice delivers lyrics like, “Cut open my sternum/And pull my little ribs around you.” Roddick lends his voice later on “Grandloves,” a slow-motion, new-wave bit of R&B. In the end, Shrines stands out because of its juxtapositions—James’ direct lyrics against disjointed rhythms, the blend of morbid imagery with poppy compositions, and the feeling of cozy horror that ripples through the album. It’s a beautiful, ghostly place to spend some time.
($9.99 at amazon.com)
By Melynda Fuller
Photo courtesy of Sebastian Mlynarski