Since their 2012 debut, Shrines, Canadian duo Corin Roddick and Megan James, also known as Purity Ring, have had a lot of time to reflect upon the impact of their first release and the offspring of imitation acts it spawned. Seeking to both recreate and revamp their signature sound, Purity Ring has finally released their sophomore album, Another Eternity. Another Eternity is somewhat of a departure from their first album, but it still retains the sense of emotional magic that made fans fall in love with them in the first place. Self-described as “future pop,”Purity Ring produces their unique style from a wide palette of contemporary pop and electronic influences. At times, these influences seem to be a bit too familiar on Another Eternity, which prevents the record from being as wholly original as its predecessor. This does not detract heavily from artistic merit however, as instead, Purity Ring shines on Another Eternity by really owning these types of derivative sounds, as they consistently showcase their ability to innovate and fuse throughout the release. While the album has its lackluster sections, there is usually enough creative momentum to push through the moments. Ultimately, Purity Ring’s conscious development is evident throughout the album, combining the new and the old in a refreshingly innovative way.
Fittingly, “Heartsigh” introduces Purity Ring’s signature style, featuring dreamy synth layers under James’ light, reverb-laden vocals. Purity Ring’s knack for drum programming is showcased well on this track and remains a standout feature throughout the album. Their synchrony between drums and synth reaches near divinity in “Push Pull,” making it easy for the vocals to take you away. “Repetition” plays a bit with the vocals, using them as a sample to complement James’ lyrics, thematically encapsulating the song. After this technique gets used on a somewhat haunting “Stranger Than Earth,” the pace of the album weakens, as the album suffers from the triteness of stringing too many midtempo tracks together, even in spite of the album’s first single, “Begin Again.”
[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/186047346" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]
However, the momentum from the first half is enough to carry interest over. The monster chorus of “Flood on the Floor” brings us back. At this point, James’ vocals start to feel a bit stale, making for a suboptimal album listening experience. Luckily, most of the album’s tracks are strong enough to thrive as standalone songs, so while Purity Ring never quite escapes their tempo range, their unique production keeps the album interesting until the very end.
In future albums, Purity Ring will likely be confronted with the same issue of maintaining both their style while keeping sounds fresh and original. James’ voice starts to feel tiring after a while, and with female EDM anthems continuing to persist in pop music, Purity Ring will have to find even more ways to stand out from the crowd. However, with that said, Roddick’s production capabilities remain stellar throughout the whole album, which ought to give fans a lot of hope for Purity Ring’s future success.