By Carly Snider, Daily Arts Writer
Published March 4, 2015
Imagine: Diplo and Grimes have a lovechild that is really into Yeezus. The child decides to make an album. That album would probably sound lot like Another Eternity, the latest release from Canadian duo Purity Ring.
Coming from opposite ends of the musical spectrum, these elements seem almost entirely unrelated. But upon closer inspection, the foreign melodies of Yeezus, party beats of Diplo and delicate vocals of Grimes still hold only few, fleeting similarities. But that’s why it works – Purity Ring thrives on juxtapositions. The small voice of Megan James on top of round, rolling bass tones and, at times, excited beats creates an almost indefinable sound.
The album starts off softer and then builds, reaching its peak around “Dust Hymn.” If not for James’s vocals, the track may not be readily attributed to Purity Ring as it departs from the duo’s generally relaxed soundscape. Featuring snare backbeats and high-pitched tones, the main melody is otherworldly and intense – swap out James for Kanye and you have Yeezus’’s 11th track.
Backing up, “Heartsigh” opens up the album, setting up listeners to anticipate a more electronically-charged and radio-ready sound than that of Shrines. The bones of their sound remain unchanged, but right off the bat, Purity Ring makes it obvious that this second album will not be a simple reworking of the first.
Rolling along, “Bodyache” features pulsing beats and, as always, lyrics that remain eerily body-oriented. Extremely repetitive, the chorus and supporting beats are some of the least dynamic of the album – just engaging enough to keep listeners from hitting the “skip” button.
The album also features previously-released singles, including “Begin Again,” “Push Pull” and “Repetition” – all of which lie more closely to Purity Ring’s original sound as these tracks lack the more EDM-influenced elements of the rest of the album. “Begin Again” plays heavily on extraterrestrial imagery, almost transporting listeners to another planet. More upbeat, “Push Pull” is sparse in instrumentation and allows for the pairing of long bass tones with gentle keyboard riffs speak for themselves – again, juxtaposition. “Repetition” is slow and smoldering, well, as smoldering as electronic music can be.
Further into the album, the influence of mainstream dance music becomes more apparent, but so does the group’s lyrical ingenuity – balancing each other out. Tracks like “Stranger Than Earth” and “Flood On The Floor” are standouts in terms of musical intensity, showing listeners that the duo is capable of more than just haunting, digital sounds. Featuring such strong electronic elements, “Flood On The Floor” sounds as though it could be a remix of a Purity Ring original.
The album wraps with “Sea Castle” and “Stillness In Woe,” both of which bring the focus back to the group’s lyrical and vocal strength. Without question, “Stillness In Woe” features the album’s strongest and most puzzling lyrics – including lines such as “Push my mind around as if it’s warming up your hand.” Ending with “Stillness In Woe” leaves listeners wanting more, wiping away any doubts they may have had about previous tracks.
Another Eternity is a strong follow up to Purity Ring’s debut album, expanding their musical repertoire to please electro-pop enthusiasts, loyal fans and even the DJ-obsessed millenials.