An initial listen to Shrines reveals an alarming lyrical depth, especially in juxtaposition with the coy innocence of Megan James’ vocals. “Sea water is flowing/ From the middle of my thighs” begins album opener “Crawlersout” establishing Purity Ring’s niche for body imagery. This theme continues in the graphic depictions within “Fineshrine” of an apparently intimate dissection- “Cut open my sternum/And pull my little ribs around you.” The tracklist is full of these lyrical Easter eggs and it’s nice to have this cushion when the album occasionally ventures into redundancy. Let’s face it- Purity Ring are obviously not trying to keep anyone off balance here. The rhythms, lo-fi beat drops, etc, while not overtly traditional, are familiar enough to become predictable and Shrines has the strongest case of “the claps” of any record in recent memory. But in lieu of surprises, Purity Ring offers the listener an experience more akin to auditory cleansing than any type of calculated formality. Shrines is an inescapable album and the best response is to probably just let it wash all over you- then, of course, listen to it again.
- Fr. Jones