At last, Purity Ring have released their new album WOMB. There are few groups helped redefine the edge of pop music in the 2010’s like Purity Ring. Their robotic, synth-heavy sound was far from the EDM cheese that pop had borrowed in the late 2000’s and early 2010s, but still remained firmly pop enough to garner a large and rabid fan base. This peaked after the release of their 2015 album another eternity that cemented them as one of the “cool” and trendy topline festival acts for years with relentless touring in between. In our supercharged attention spans, five years is a long time between albums, but given the circumstances, it may have been just the right amount of time. Unplugging from the music & media machine can help reset and the duo sound refreshed on WOMB.
The album starts with the title track to show their willingness to go even further into processed electronics. Megan James’ voice often is pitched and made a little more robotic, but here they add some auto-tune to make it even more mechanical. Then it settles into featuring her high-pitched voice over heavily reverbed and washed out synths.
Purity Ring know how to create big, beautiful hooks. The combination of sugary synths and James’ vocals create hypnotic, ear-worm hooks that linger long after the song is over. Just as elements of production are often hit with a heavy dose of reverb, the hooks themselves seem to reverberate for seconds or minutes after each record. One prime example is “peacefall” where James repeats the same line over and over for the final minute into a hypnotizing daze.
It isn’t all big hooks and soaring choruses through. Songs like “almanac” and “femia” are softer and more introspective, tackling subjects like loss and heartbreak. However it is the big, glimmering songs that provide the shining moments on this album like the hopeful finale “stardew” or the soaring “pink lightning.”
The production maintains the mood and feel of the record. Wide and processed synths sail over simple, but punchy production. It keeps the most important part of the album – its cohesion. Like Purity Ring's albums before this, there is a singular sound and mood to each album. It feels distinctly like the Canadian duo and doesn’t get boring. Purity Ring have nailed their niche and manage another beautiful and confident album to make 2020 a little less bad.
Stream WOMB below and get your copy here.