A lot has happened since Purity Ring‘s debut album, Shrines back in 2012. The dream pop/electronic sound is bit more abundant now with acts like Chvrches who have entered the fold. How would the band improve on their impressive debut? Another Eternity for starters, feels more cohesive as producer Corin Roddick and singer Megan James were together in the same space to collaborate for this particular album. Gone are mostly the what would most say were the “EDM” elements and replaced with a dichotomy of hip-hop production with dream-like inducing keys or little indents like bells.
The first part of the album is a little lighter than one would expect. Throughout the album, the element that most impressed me is how Roddick’s production and James’ soft and soothing voice meet. There are complex elements at play, but the singing voice does not overpower the production and vice versa. “Heartsigh” and “Bodyache” introduce a pop element within the band as both songs are indicative of the album’s cover art. They make you feel weightless in a way and addictively catchy (see “Bodyache’s” chorus). Within the pop elements of songs like “Push Pull”, the song’s structure has is layered as it appeals to many of my musical senses. There are the harpsichord flares with the slight 808 beats interchanged with James’ poetic imprint. “there was no light and I swear/we sat still in our fear/make a ladder of what folds/and climb up in the air”.
“Repetition” and “Stronger Than Earth” brings Purity Ring closer to the area of Drake and Noah ’40’ Shebib‘s production where they dabble in R&B territory. Even the vocal cadence of James in “Stronger Than Earth” as she proclaims that she “wasn’t thinking about you” mixed with a slapping 808 from Roddick shows that Purity Ring can zig-zag through genres. For those who were hoping for the darker elements of Shrines may be happy with “Begin Again” and “Dust Hymn”, which may be the strongest points of the album. James’ subtle poetry hits hard under the brooding, quiet part of “Begin Again”: “You be the moon/I’ll be the earth/and when we burst/start over”. “Dust Hymn” is confrontational, but the perfect marriage of lyrics and production again. A trap heavy track accented with statements like “The cringing of your teeth might help you sleep the way I left you”.
In Another Eternity, you can hear the benefit of Roddick and James working in close quarters as each tailor their aspect of songs to zone out or concentrate on the complexity of James’ lyrics. It’s a great trade off. Fans may be upset that Purity Ring may have “played safe” with the beginning part of the album, but it’s a new wrinkle within a blossoming genre. Another Eternity maintains the base of PR, but also may add some new accessibility and flexibility as well.