another eternity Album Review
Released March 3, 2015
Genre: Electronic Pop, Future Pop, Synth Pop, Dream Pop
Trying to continue their pursuit of their self-acclaimed genre, “future pop,” Purity Ring release their sophomore album, another eternity. In hindsight Shrines, their first album, and another eternity are very alike, but at the same time very different.
Purity Ring is a duo made up of Megan James on vocals and Corin Roddick on instruments. They were able to collaborate with a series of rappers such as Danny Brown and Ab-Soul and dancehall reggae acts. What lures listeners to give Purity Ring a listen is their intricacy and layered production that leads listeners into some fantasy world like another artist, Odesza, does. Their freshman album Shrines provided a perfect balance to their “future pop”- light years ahead of today’s current pop music in terms of production and lyrical content. What made Shrines such an inviting and unique listen was its ambitious blend of dark lyrics with James’ kid-friendly vocals. Three years later, another eternity is Purity Ring’s sweetest effort yet.
In a nutshell, another eternity and Shrines both portray the light and dark worlds of dream pop, respectively. Shrines’ arrangements and production are dark and mysterious -for example, “Grandloves” and “Cartographist.” In another eternity, Roddick primarily focuses on the pop aspect and tones down the grim vibe Shrines had. Furthermore, because Shrines mainly stayed in the witch-house world, Purity Ring does not necessarily take any risks with another eternity; This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Simply put, with another eternity, Purity Ring steps out of the ghostly shadows cast in Shrines and embraces mainstream electronic pop trademarks.
For instance, one of Purity Ring’s singles, “begin again,” can be substituted with a Rihanna hit. More of that later. Let’s start at the beginning. “heartsigh,” the first track of their album, provides a solid start to another eternity bringing back their trademark synth and drum combination but containing a noticeable pop tinge to it. The lyrics bring in a much lighter feeling instead of the dark one introduced in their first album. Furthermore, in “bodyache,” the harp-like piano sound heard in the background serves as a great compliment to Megan’s vocals offering some sort of tranquil vibe. Moreover, the track offers perfect transitions from light to heavy going from the harp-like sound with little bass and synth in the verses to the heavy bass in the refrain. In a sense, this transition serves as a body ache with the peaceful tranquility in the verses and the heavy vibe in the chorus. “heartsigh” and “bodyache” provide a great introduction to another eternity.
Next up is Purity Ring’s first single off this album, “push pull.” This track contains the strongest lyrical and emotional conviction in the album. It literally illustrates a, excuse the pun, push and pull relationship between two people. What is oddly charming is that when Megan says “you push and you pull” in the chorus, she enunciates the word “push” very crisp while Roddick’s production makes the word “pull” drag out for half a beat more. “Repetition” shifts gear and slows down the fast pace from “push pull.” The heavy bass is not really present as it was in the previous tracks. Roddick’s production basically takes a back seat and allows Megan’s voice to take the front seat and shine. In contrast, “stranger than earth” pulls the listener from the calm of “repetition” back to the upbeat tempo. It is one of their more rave-like songs on the album due to the strong kick and drums. Other than offering a nice beat, this track really does not offer much in comparison to the other tracks in the album.
Purity Ring’s second single, “begin again,” is one of the strongest tracks and one of the tracks that reminds listeners of Shrines. “begin again” brings back the dark lyrics and piano riffs along with the high kicks. The dark synths in the background contrasts Megan’s innocent vocals. It is contrasted in a way that it sounds very beautiful. Although Purity Ring have moments of creativity throughout the album, their brilliance shines the most in this track and “stranger than earth.”
For hip-hop lovers, “dust hymn” is in your alley, which offers an ethereal trap beat. This is a shift in which “dust hymn” is more fast-paced than the previous songs in the album. Furthermore, it alternates between the fast pace and the hip-hop beat in Megan’s verses. It also has a lace of EDM due to the climatic build up and “drops.”
“Flood on the floor” primarily appeals to the EDM lovers in the world. This is one of the weakest tracks on the album. The verses and the instrumentals sound off together; however, the chorus and bridge makes it up a little. The drop is one of the positive aspects of this track as well. Immediately, “sea castle” offers some sort of mystical feeling in the beginning and then goes dark. It brings a bit of Shrines’ dark mojo back into the fold. What makes this track interesting is the different and unpredictable beats ranging from up-paced to slow and soothing.
The last track, “stillness in woe,” ends another eternity in mystery. It is pretty slow compared to “repetition.” Sadly enough, it sort of ends another eternity in an anti-climactic way. By itself, the track has some strength, offering great mystery with the contrast between the slow piano with the fast synth in the background. However, by this time in the album, listeners are used to the fast paced beats from “begin again” and “push pull” -two of the singles and best tracks in the album and the album doesn’t end in a bang.
In all, although Purity Ring’s sophomore album does not take much risks it does take a different path from Shrines in which it has a more transparent tone to it. another eternity finds Purity Ring abandoning the dark and grim lyrics and atmosphere of their captivating debut, and trading it in for a more accessible, sweeter sound and image. Although most of the tracks are just repetitions of pop, Purity Ring is producing something they’ve already excelled on but making it more “innocent.” Both artists are showcased in this album well. Megan’s vocals shines in “begin again” and “push pull” while Roddick plays in such a way that infuses European trance with a bit of trap and a bit of hip-hop. Overall, another eternity is a very good album. It basically places listeners in a daydream while Shrines, their freshman album, places listeners in a sort of nightmare. It’s nice to know that Purity Ring have a saccharine side when it comes to their music, and this kind of dexterity can be applauded.
PRETTY NEAT MUSIC
FAV TRACKS: heartsigh, bodyache, push pull, reflection, begin again, dust hymn, sea castle
LEAST FAV TRACKS: stranger than earth, flood on the floor, stillness in woe