Purity Ring – another eternity (Review)


There is an interesting change that occurs about halfway between Purity Ring’s new album, another eternity. While the entire album is enjoyable, it’s like a musical sandwich; while everything here tastes good, you eventually find yourself just eating the bread. The first few tracks are prolifically catchy. While this eventually returns in the final two tracks, much of the middle is filled with overheard beats and repetitions that reek of the desire for heightened popularity. And while that is understandable, it is the wacky songs that hold less mainstream appeal that are easy to come back to and keep replaying.

Perhaps the best example of the front half’s excellence is the third single that was released from the album: “bodyache.” Paired with its successor, “push pull,” the same themes found in the last track are introduced here. Both songs are fairly repetitive in a typical-pop-song-way, with “push pull” sounding like it used casino machines as its musical inspiration. However, the brilliance that comes from both is the fact that the perseveration doesn’t seem to come from any place other than emotional desperation. The neediness in Megan James’ voice in the latter track is similar to someone who is repeating the same point to no avail. Nothing is more frustrating than having something to say to someone and they are too stubborn to listen. It is perfectly felt with every word coming out of her mouth.

The final track, “stillness in woe,” perfectly blends the two ends of the techno-sphere. James has a sweet voice that compliments the harsh, robotic instrumentation behind her to create a somber song full of transitions and changes. Even though there is the constant reiteration of “I’m seeing double,” it segues into new territory, creating an unpredictable blend. “begin again” is another example of this combination. The lyricism shines with a sweetness complimented by the same repetition gracing “push pull.” While the song is something that could be played on a pop radio station, it’s not without this balance that it fits snugly on the album in a way that shows all of the band’s facets.

“stranger than earth” recreates some of this balance, but falls shorter than the finale. While James’ vocals are still distinctly staccato – a crispness which prevails throughout the album – the first 15 seconds sound like they could be stolen from a Two Chainz song – and this is a beat that persists endlessly. (Apologies to all employees at preteen shops in the mall who will probably have to hear these beats for the next three months.)

But then things turn around in a more noticeable way. While there is still the emotion coming across in James’ voice, perfect punctuation in lyrics and clever uses of verbal repetition, songs like “dust hymn” sound distinctly foreign (and also very similar to “Black Widow” by Iggy Azalea). It is here that it becomes confusing where this album wants to stand. While the songs that blend all of the elements could be trying to serve as a throw pillow, “dust hymn” and “flood on the floor” just throw people off. The instrumentation becomes fairly unoriginal in places, and while James’ voice tries to save the day, these song especially still falls into the pile of “Any Other Pop Song.”

While another eternity has its faults – and songs it’ll be easy to skip over after a few listens – it is a helplessly catchy album that tries to blend pop and alternative techno music, even though it doesn’t always succeed. It’s highs are steep, but the lows can be distracting and discouraging. The vocal talents on James persevere, however, and make it easy to remember the great songs that will make our “Most Listened” playlists soon.

Rating: W-P-1/2

RIYL: CHVRCHES, Grimes, Foxes

Key Tracks: “push pull,” “bodyache,” and “sea castle”

About Emma Goodwin

I’m an English major with a political science and cinema studies minor. When I am not bunking out in my room watching TV and old movies, you can find me drinking too much Diet Coke and making future travel plans.

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