When: Wed., Sept. 16, 8 p.m. 2015
PURITY RING | WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 16
THE RITZ, RALEIGH—If you're looking for a reprieve from the '80s leeches residing at the top of Billboard, consider the self-described "future pop" of Edmonton duo Purity Ring. For those understandably rolling their eyes at the term, the sound, at least, is an earworm-heavy mix of Megan James' sharp, sometimes-chilling vocals and producer Corin Roddick's bass-first production. It has a futuristic quality, but it's neither dystopian nor simply plundering the past for the present. Purity Ring's sound is instantly identifiable, a quality that works both for and against the pair.
Purity Ring recorded their debut, 2012's Shrines, in separate cities. But they cut this year's quite nice Another Eternity in the studio together, a move that fostered a unified atmosphere. Shrines was cohesive, but the truly collaborative nature of Another Eternity allowed Purity Ring to take Shrines' foundation and perfect it. The vocals and the production sound richer, bigger, more engaging. Certain tracks bleed together, sure, but that's the risk when crafting a sound that's so deliberately individual. See, for instance, "Bodyache."
Purity Ring's fondness for juxtaposition is evident in an instant, and live, the quality makes for a compelling, almost jolting experience. You're hypnotized by James' vocals—even in smartphone-recorded footage uploaded to YouTube, she sounds fantastic—only to have your chest kicked by Roddick's bass and drums.
The duo's preferred form has gained momentum of late, thanks to its own efforts and those of Sleigh Bells. It'll be interesting to see if any of their better-known contemporaries ape this sound. Moving forward, for instance, don't be surprised if James and Roddick appear as producers on your favorite rapper's next project. In addition to supplying a track for Ab-Soul's These Days..., they showed up on the biggest single off Danny Brown's Old, "25 Bucks." With any luck, maybe all three can hit the road—or hell, the charts—together. 8 p.m., $22, 2820 Industrial Drive, Raleigh, 919-424-1400, www.ritzraleigh.com. —Andrew Martin