In short, 4AD are on fire and Canada is taking over. With seemingly everything the London label touches sending people loopy, their latest hot ticket comes in the form of this youthful Halifax/Montreal twosome. Yes, chopped beats and synths which flail and stab with accuracy alongside endearing vocals are very much prevalent right now, but while what Purity Ring do is unavoidably current, this makes it all the more difficult to emanate from the pack as emphatically as Shrines has. This debut genuinely feels like a raising of the bar. Corin Roddick has a wealth of fun skewing vocalist Megan Jones’s addictive tones in all manner of directions, assembling samples and percussive hyperactivity to produce swaying, warm and sonorous scapes, while a sinister edge constantly underpins the saccharine leanings of the duo’s spectral electronic pop. Highlights come very, very regularly, though slippery, twinkling opener Crawlersout and follower Fineshrine set a hell of a high water mark. The latter comes complete with a divine chorus that the creators are clearly proud of, pausing knowingly to admire its sweet, elating vocal before nudging it over the edge. Grandloves welcomes the distinctive monotone sing-rap of Young Magic’s Isaac Emmanuel, while Amenamy rises and falls lovably. Song titles formed from mutated, constructed non-words such as Obedear (a stuttering R’n’B workout) and Belispeak (a pulsing, blippy, bottom end-driven paean) smack of individuals with an intense, passionate creative vision from top to bottom. And closer Shuck is a deliciously black, stripped-down affair conjured in grim, anatomical detail. It’s quite simply stunning. Purity Ring have just joined compatriot Grimes in the ranks of 2012’s definitive sound. 4AD basically own us right now.
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Words: Geraint Davies