Childlike imagery and skittery electrified beats.
On their first proper full-length, Canadian duo Purity Ring manage to shake off the lazy comparisons to The Knife that haunted their early singles in favor of something slightly less creepy but not nearly as compelling. Building on glitchy electrified beats and lighter than air vocals, the band craft pop music that inhabits the same warped, hip-hop inflected landscapes mined recently by the likes of Grimes or Clams Casino. Tracks like "Odebear" and "Crawlerspeak" burst with childlike imagery and stacked, skittering beats, but they never quite seem to make the leap from interestingly weird headphone music to full-fledged dance jams. Shrines, though impeccably produced, exists in a kind of tepid limbo. Working from what seems to be a fairly specific palette of canned beats and washy synth sounds, even the best Purity Ring songs suffer from a noticeable sameness. On tracks like "Ungirthed" and "Belispeak," this minimalism works in their favor, but the rest of the album sounds both anemic and a little hookless when compared to those standout tracks.