Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Purity Ring – Begin Again

Finally, a proper Christian song title…


Brad Shoup: I don’t believe a word of this apocalypse. It’s like hearing NYC talk about snow.

Alfred Soto: What “pounding sound”?

Mo Kim: “You’ll be the moon, I’ll be the earth” speaks volumes, the speaker pleading a loved one to stay tethered to her. The music colors in her desperation with hints that this is not the first time she’s fought this battle. Megan James’ voice is drained of any light beyond a dim glow, while the rhythms shift under her feet like the tides of time lost. And that’s all before the chorus stomps in, a ghost of a piano melody laced between a crushing four-on-the-floor beat: it suggests an inevitability to this whole affair, that all of this is doomed to either begin again or finally, mercifully end. The emotional nuance is impressive.

Katherine St Asaph: A few years ago Chvrches came off as a watered-down Purity Ring; now, perhaps inevitably, Purity Ring comes off as a slightly more clarified Chvrches. When Shrines came out I wanted to imagine entire worlds that sounded like it. “Begin Again” probably will sound OK on a mix two months from now.

Will Adams: Tinkling piano, synth pads used as bass, heavy kick, thin female vocal right at center; it’s basically a trance song slowed down to 90 BPM.

Juana Giaimo: It seems that Purity Ring has found a formula and are not planning to detach from it. A childish voice becoming creepy in a dark and minimalistic ambience worked with them on Shrines, but if I already thought that album was a little bit repetitive, listening to “Begin Again” doesn’t really make me excited for their new one.

Micha Cavaseno: It’s kind of interesting how a lot of people went with Purity Ring’s impish “Libra girl in your math class who has braces and takes rubber bands to her tangled hair” charms and used them for a lot of lesser songs. But apparently they’re going into the game, sandblasting themselves into the pop shark frenzy. It’s honestly curious to hear how this band has grown out of their rough patches into conventional pop, and their songwriting has vastly improved. I can’t say that about a lot of their peers on 4 *coughs, chokes, and sputters out life force in the sounds of barks that resemble a noise like Grimes*… AD, but I’m happy to say that about these dorks.

Patrick St. Michel: What made Purity Ring interesting was written right in their song titles — they made unsettling electro-pop that sounded like they were built from malfunctioning throats, and they were named “Belispeak” and “Lofticries,” familiar words turned weird. Their best, most upbeat sounding number dwelled on strange body noises and boasts a gross title. “Begin Again” is as boring as the title they came up with, a stab at wider recognition that trades unnerving for watered-down EDM, except with none of the fun. 

Ashley Ellerson: The electronic duo ditched the dark, supernatural feel of Shrines for a dreamier composition this time around. Megan James’ voice is less produced, and I can finally hear what she sounds like. Purity Ring are starting over with an EDM-lite tune, which I’m here for, but we can’t ignore that familiar beat featured in too many electronic songs.

Alex Ostroff: I’m often the first to celebrate weird indie bedroom electronic acts who clean up their sound and go pop, but “Begin Again” is a reboot that doesn’t quite work for me. Purity Ring’s early singles could be genuinely unsettling — Megan’s lyrics crawled under your skin with imagery that always felt a little off and that you couldn’t quite shake, while the production surrounded and warped her vocals. Shrines wasn’t quite claustrophobic, but it certainly wasn’t expansive. When you scrub all the vocal distortion and body horror off it turns out all that remains of Purity Ring is pretty, mildly sleepy EDM. It’s very pretty, if it helps.

Jonathan Bogart: Stepping a few paces back from the current pop moment for a vainglorious attempt at a big picture, it seems to me that Broadcast was maybe the most influential band of the last twenty years. Or 2 Unlimited. One of the two.

Reader average: [8] (3 votes)

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3 Responses to “Purity Ring – Begin Again”

  1. It was def. Broadcast, though via their understudies (Beach House)

  2. is beach house really an understudy of broadcast, though? i can see where they might have taken influence from them, but i feel like they exist in two separate universes and were going for two completely different things.

  3. Its a lot of effort to describe Beach House being anything but boring but yes Beach House ended up somewhere other than Broadcast being unambitious and lazy.