Album Review // PURITY RING ‘WOMB’
Purity Ring return from a dark hiatus to share a collection of familiar, retro-futuristic sounds and bring forth the seeking of comfort in a world that is already out of our control through their evocative and provocative metaphors.
The eerie duo Purity Ring, made up of Megan James and Corrin Roddick, emerge from the shadows to shed some recognizable light with their anticipated album, WOMB, and bring us back to a familiar feeling they left us with five years ago. WOMB brings forth an evolved sonic palette: surging baselines, swirling synthesizers and piano melodies that draw us into a necessary solitude. Purity Ring astounded us through their 2012 Shrines, bringing forth a single, perfectly executed style.
Similarly, WOMB engulfs us with the same, intimate concept where we feel understood for our emotional seclusion and we feel seen for our humanness.
The starting track, rubyinsides, seamlessly draws their infamous distorted style back to consciousness. A collaboration between the metrical drumbeats and vocalized vulnerability illuminates the refrain: “If I could, I would let you see through me.” pink lightning keeps vulnerability close to the surface with altering vocal pitches and twinkling percussion sets that help to encapsulate a vision of an evening storm – the perfect time for reflection and release. Spilling into the next track, peacefall, that submits ethereal chimes and James’ soft glimmering falsetto hymns into a nurturing message of warmth and trust. The track drowns into the vocals, “into, into the light” promising a place of home for our own intensities to reside in.
Contrastly, i like the devil brings up suppressed thoughts of feminine pain through a sinister euphony of hallowing vocals and repetitive drumbeats. As James explained, “It’s kind of about being a nurturer but also how that is perceived and taken out of context a lot.” Those thoughts are palpable through the haunting words: “Find us in the folded parts she pressed / Lying in positions like we’ve slept / Find us in the hallows of her chest.” With the darkness passing, vehemence brings holographic, lo-fi pop jam while silkspun invites a transcendent yet edgy beat to bear a new age of feminine anger as James’ ripe vocals sing out, “Fear how the stillness stares back like it knows what I mean / I fear me.”
Purity Ring’s sonic hallmarks sit comfortably next to each other in WOMB – mesmerizing synths, soul-stirring metaphors, and crystalized vocals. The project brings a sense of comfort while still deciphering monumental emotions. The 36-minute record embodies a profound, fever dream that some of us don’t have the privilege to wake up from. James found anger in society’s perception of feminity (and its nurturing qualities) yet created art to find a sense of comfort in it all. Now, as listeners, we’re invited to sit and feel through this magnetizing masterpiece. Similarly to a caretaker caring for their own, James and Roddick built a resting place for us to remain safe in an already dangerous climate. This is shown in their promising closing track, stardew, as James whispers, “I know it seems far / But just be where you are” – a soft reminder that home is a place within us all.