Album Review: Purity Ring, ‘Another Eternity’
Before releasing Another Eternity, Purity Ring gave us some singles that seemed to be a departure from their first album in favor of commercial success. But, while Another Eternity might end up selling a lot of copies, it will do so mainly because of how good it is. (Well, that and it sounds like a commercial record. But a good commercial record.)
"Begin Again" and "Push Pull" made me wonder if the Canadian duo were seeking more comfortable ground after stretching the limits of whatever genre their first album, Shrines, fell into. Both songs would fit right in on Top 40 radio, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. But where are the overtly creepy lyrics and detuned chord swells?
Consuming the album in its entirety, though, those things aren't missed. Just like Dumbo and his magic feather, it turns out that singer Megan James doesn't have to write mystical lyrics to make the songs intriguing. The magic was inside her all along.
And producer Corin Roddick has definitely stepped up his music-crafting game. The song arrangements dangle in mainstream waters, but the music is still simultaneously complex and appealing.
A perfect example of this is the track "Flood on the Floor." The music bounces back and forth between sparse verses and one of the most dance-clubby choruses ever written. The whole thing houses more of James' now-signature cryptic lyrics that captivate you the way scary stories did when you were a child.
At the end of the day, it's the music that really makes this album. Roddick has obviously spent his time since the last album honing his beat-making and songwriting skills. Another Eternity sounds, at first listen, much more radio-friendly because of Roddick's use of popular sounds, such as the keyboards on album closer "Stillness in Woe." While he uses the same musical tropes that you might hear on a Max Martin (the man responsible for about one-third of the hits you hear on your local Top 40 station) song, Roddick's imaginative use gives the songs on Another Eternity depth and substance.
All in all, Another Eternity is a departure from Shrines -- there's no denying that. And while that might make the disc slightly difficult to take in at first, you'll find similarly mystical nature and environments in the new music, just not on the surface. The strange is still there, only this time it's wearing a mask to fit in with the popular kids.