Back in 2012 when Purity Ring dropped their self-produced debut album Shrines, it was quite clear that the duo hailing from Alberta, Canada were on to something pretty special. Their blissed out take on experimental futurepop and trip-hop seemed to have a resonating effect upon a very accepting and curious public. Particularly with the singles ‘Belispeak‘, and the incredible ‘Fineshrine‘ among others.
Fast-forward to 2015 – it has been three long years since any new material has surfaced, and we finally get Purity Ring’s sophomore effort entitled Another Eternity. But of course the main question that will be on everyone’s lips is… will Another Eternity be the album that breaks Purity Ring in to the mainstream?
Put quite simply – yes. Another Eternity is a solid follow-up that is armed with a ten-strong arsenal of dreamy electronic wonder that will surely be among the soundtracks of many a person’s summer. The single that everyone should be familiar with now is of course lead single ‘Push Pull‘, which has received some heavy rotational airplay in the past month pre-album release, and has already gained various ‘record of the month’ accolades from multiple radio DJ’s. And what looks like to be the follow up single, ‘Begin Again‘ is already starting to receive the rotational rounds since being released via the groups official YouTube channel.
It seems that throughout this album Purity Ring have decided to lightly experiment with various musical sub-genres – including trap, dubstep, EDM, and even chiptune, and with fairly decent results. However whilst they spread their wings by showing that they are no one-trick pony, one cannot help but feel that Another Eternity does not really seem to be a steady progression, but merely a gentle dabble within the consensus of commercially acceptable electronic music. This is in no way a bad thing as the group certainly have proved and deserve the success that they have worked hard for. However it just seems that in comparison to their debut album, Another Eternity is merely but a filtered down version of what made Shrine so special in the first place.
Firstly let it be known that Corin Roddick‘s production on both albums is just wonderful, but on this release it is noticeably cleaner and crisper, with a much more mainstream-friendly style of production that Shrine may not have been able to advance further with, due to its gritty, bass-heavy grooves that made us fall in love with them in the first place. Whilst it would be unfair that this would be somewhat of a disappointment, it is merely but a practice in exploring new avenues for Roddick as a producer, but also to help mould the shape and direction for Purity Ring’s future releases.
One of the biggest flaws with this album lies within its lack of unpredictability. There isn’t really anything new to offer to fans of Purity Ring already, but it merely just expands on what they already know. It is all a little bit musically predictable, but that can also be a safe bet purely because so many artists tend to falter at the second hurdle. Is this a sign that Purity Ring are still seeking to find their ‘true’ sound, or have they got more tricks up their sleeves that we do not know about? Only time will tell… But as it stands, Another Eternity just seems far too safe and feels somewhat restrained to its true potential.
On a more positive note, Megan James‘ vocals are still as bright and as wonderful as they ever have been. Whilst there is a great deal more effects on her vocals, there are times where there are no effects whatsoever which gives enough leeway to demonstrate and show just how much of a great singing voice James possesses. She particularly shines on the songs ‘Push Pull‘, ‘Stranger Than Earth‘, and the trap-heavy album highlight ‘Dust Hymn‘.
Ultimately it boils down to the fact that Purity Ring will find themselves being projected in to the stratosphere of commercial success with Another Eternity. Do not even bet against it, because this album will surely be one within the lists of many critics end of year choices. It is just frustrating because for this critic, Another Eternity feels somewhat bound and does not let off all of its true power that it does harness, and seems to hold back for whatever reason. Maybe they are adhering to a more commercial sound, maybe they have more to give but all in due time. But one thing that is apparent is that you will be hearing a lot more from these guys in the next few months – Planet Earth, pay attention!