Albums Of 2012. 10// Purity Ring

Shrines [Released by 4AD]

So it’s time to restart last year’s series of posts on my top ten albums of the year. I was also considering exapnding upon this and doing a top 5 album covers series, something more relevant to the blog as a whole I guess.

But let’s start the top 10 rather appropriately with number 10 – Shrines by Montreal electro duo Purity Ring. The anticipation behind their debut release was startling, yet completely understandable considering the tasters given prior to the release of the album. In 2011 the band released singles ‘Ungirthed’ and ‘Belispeak’, two tracks which promised an alliegence to a new sound rising in electronic music, incorporating elements of dream pop and even a Cure-esque gothic influence. This sound was made big this year both by Purity Ring and their oft compared peer Grimes. 

Unfortunately Purity Ring’s debut release suffered from the same issues as Grimes’ Visions LP did. Poorly expanded initial concepts and aesthetic made both albums feel like more of a task of duplicating previous songs and successes. I find myself clutching at variation like straws, but overall most songs wash into one another. Shrines is a hard things to swallow.

Nontheless taken in isolation each song is a strong reiteration of the initially discovered sound. It promises basic melodic talent which may carry Purity Ring on to be the ones to discover how to expand on this popular sound and make a truly great album. In the meantime they’ve delivered a sterling selection of singles instead, with the likes of Ungirthed and Fineshrine, one of the most enticing and perfectly written singles of 2012. If you dip in and out of this album it will probably serve as a good highlight to 2012’s new direction in dance and electronic music, and more interestingly what more might be in store next year…


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