Album Review: Electronic Duo Purity Ring's 'Another Eternity' Refracts Pop Through a Funhouse Mirror
One of music's longtime laws is that the underground bubbles up. From jazz to blues, punk to EDM, the fringe always moves toward the center. Well, not anymore. Thanks to the frenetic pace and democratic nature of the Internet, conversations between genres and aesthetic sensibilities now move in both directions. The avant-garde feasts on the mainstream and vice versa. Case in point: Purity Ring's Another Eternity, a collection of aggressively polyglot dance pop you wouldn't be surprised to find on Taylor Swift's iPod.
Purity Ring is a guy-girl duo from Edmonton, Alberta, whose 2012 debut, Shrines, caused a stir among the hip kids with its lithe synthesis of trap beats, EDM theatrics and the keening vocals of Megan James. It was a fun record, like listening to Madonna at half speed with your face in a strobe light. Follow-up Another Eternity does little to expand this aesthetic, but for those who enjoy hearing top 40 pop sounds refracted through a funhouse mirror, that's probably not bad news.
The allure of Purity Ring's latest is hearing James and her bandmate Corrin Roddick construct new pop songs with 2014's music trends. Her phrasing of "I wasn't thinkin' 'bout you" on "Stranger Than Earth" is unabashedly Drake-ian, and the staccato beats throughout aren't dramatically different from those of Katy Perry's "Dark Horse." When this works -- and it does, often -- the result is delightful, a fancy outfit put together with hand-me-downs, the elegance deriving from the duo's ear for pattern-matching. The best examples are the throbbing grandiosity of "Flood on the Floor" and the amniotic pulse of "Push Pull," the title of which could easily describe the relationship between Purity Ring and its many sonic cousins on the charts.