Albums

Album Review: Purity Ring – ‘Another Eternity’

On first listen, Purity Ring come across as some sort of otherworldly, mysterious, maybe even alien creatures. It’s difficult to pin down why, but there’s something about hearing what sounds like a child sing about sea water in her thighs or about inviting someone to ‘cut open your sternum’ so they can ‘crown’ you with their lungs that can’t help but make you think there might be something wrong with them.

For the yet-to-be-converted among you, Purity Ring are an electro-pop group who take liberally from contemporary dance trends and filter them through their twisted (possibly alien) minds to make the kind of pop music that puts most other efforts to pitiful shame.

And fortunately for those of us who found ourselves a little traumatised after listening to their last record, the fixation on the physical human form seems to have passed, and Another Eternity sees Purity Ring leave Earth altogether and travel yet further into the realms of fairytale; a world where feelings not feeling rule mercilessly over our bodies. One look at the song titles tells you all you need to know here; ‘Heartsigh’ and ‘Bodyache’ lining up with ‘Stranger than Earth’ and ‘Sea Castle’.

There may not be anything that hits as hard as ‘Ungirthed’ or ‘Belispeak’ on this album, but there isn’t anything as dull as ‘Cartographist’

But there isn’t so much of a clash between fantasy and feelings of (predominantly) love here as a synthesis. Single ‘Begin Again’ for example, narrates a story of someone who ensnares their ‘darling’ in their orbit like the earth with the moon – ‘not even into another eternity will you stop your lovely orbiting’ – in a manner not unlike the ominous pounding of the accompanying music, and just as frightening in its own way as the crazy lyrics in ‘Fineshrine’.

It is the successful combining of these two separate themes that is better realised than the tension between body and mind that dominated 2012’s excellent Shrines, and it makes Another Eternity a more solid and consistently engaging listen than its predecessor. There may not be anything that hits as hard as ‘Ungirthed’ or ‘Belispeak’ on this album, but there isn’t anything as dull as ‘Cartographist’ either and Purity Ring are clearly trying something new here. The basic template has stayed the same, but more attention is paid here to the dynamics as well as the sound of dance music, by which I mean that Another Eternity often makes you want to dance as well as go mental with the joy of hearing a quality pop song.

what cannot be denied is the attention to detail in both the lyrics and music here

Whether or not you prefer Another Eternity to Shrines might just be a question of taste, but what cannot be denied is the attention to detail in both the lyrics and music here. Here’s to hoping ‘Another Eternity’ isn’t a reference to the wait for their next album…

Kieran Hallam

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