“Oh take me, oh take me / We’re running from our graves.” Purity Ring, who have been called “witch house,” deal in the extremes in their latest album, graves. Loneliness, unluckiness, death. They try to address some of the darker parts of our lives and inspire us, by by-passing our dour defense mechanisms and get straight to the feels. Using complex poetry and ecstatic electro-pop music, producer Corin Roddick and singer Megan James continue their successful formula of sugary hooks and intricate electronics to create an experience that moves the soul and the body.
With such a successful beginning, with the album Shrines, ten years ago, which was something of the first of its kind, it is no wonder critics are quick to compare and look for changes in their work. And the reviews have not been too flattering. But as a listener who just came to them fresh, after a night that was kind of a bummer, their formula, whether it’s changed up or not, was a successful panacea to my hurts, with enough intelligence and complexity to make it past my critical-of-pop faculties.
From simple encouragements like “I’ll do it again / I’ll do it again,” to more complex poetry like, “I’m made of seeds, but they just bleed,” I feel understood in my pain and am transported by the arrangements to a world above, while acknowledging the reality of the world below. That might be the biggest strength of their music on this album: they’re able to utilize all of pop’s greatest features without succumbing to any of its worst traits. Cliche, unoriginality, cheap thrills, and the like.
“May the world turn and turn until you shine / But you know, you know I know, that nothing’s fine.” The best songs, I think, have both a yin and a yang. As Tom Waits has said, “The world is a hellish place, and bad writing is destroying the quality of our suffering.” And this is good writing, I think. On a better night, perhaps I wouldn’t have been so moved by their poetry and sound. But that’s the beauty of music, its healing property, the capacity for understanding in well-crafted art, to help us through the toughest times.
Perhaps what they mean when they sing, “How lucky you are to be so unlucky.” Critics aside, this is music to soundtrack the broken heart. And it acts as a defibrillator, to jump start the soul all over again. The reason people play songs on repeat. These are repeatable songs, with enough substance in words and enough pleasure in sound to make it a successful album of songs.
Order graves by purity ring HERE
Looking for something new to listen to?
Sign up to our all-new newsletter for top-notch reviews, news, videos and playlists.