Navigating through a bustling Saturday night in Ybor, I was just able to secure a parking spot before the clock hit 7:00 PM - the time at which doors opened for the Purity Ring show at The Orpheum. I’d been eagerly counting the days till the night of the concert, as were many others, judging by the fact that the band had sold out the venue over a week prior to their appearance. Although Purity Ring is relatively young in their existence (their first single was released in January 2011), they have quickly become one of the most anticipated live acts of 2013. Original hand-crafted, branch-like instruments coupled with distinct, youthful vocals made for an original audio-visual experience left concert-goers awestruck. Their unmistakable “future-pop” sound has drawn quite a following, mostly since the recent release of their debut album, Shrines in July of 2012.
The duo is composed of Corin Roddick, who is in charge of instrumentals, and Megan James who sings. Both are relatively young (Megan is 24 and Corin 21); however, this in no way hinders their ability to create wonderfully intricate and inventive music. Purity Ring has been associated a spectrum of genres such as Dream Pop, Indie Electronic, Ethereal Wave, and other similar breeds of music. Their sound is often reminiscent of music such as The Knife, Burial and Clams Casino.
Perhaps the most apparent aspect of their sound is the vocal performance of Megan, whose style bears a resemblance to an adolescent that delivers her short lyric phrases in a sweetly charismatic tone. Drifting in and out of her verses chimes in ghostly, pitch-altered vocal samples, which contrast her charming timbre and set off a shade of darkness upon the delightful appeal of her lullaby-like melodies. The lyrics are nothing short of captivating, and they are blended into catchy vocal hooks that are nearly impossible to resist.Serving as the foundation of Megan’s vocals is Corin’s elaborate musical setup, which features his self-crafted instrument that winds throughout his framework of synthesizers, drum machines and the like.
The signature melodies featured in their album Shrines is produced by these touch-responsive orbs, which light up each time they are struck by Corin’s drumsticks. For each new song comes a new sound that is programmed into each of these unique objects, opening up an entire new realm of possibility for both aspects of the audio-visual experience. Coated with silky synthesizers, modular synth bass, and hip-hop induced drumbeats, Corin weaves a network of tasteful sounds that constantly keep listener’s ears intrigued.
The duo opened their set at The Orpheum with the track Amenamy, one of their most notable tracks off the album Shrines. The crowd erupted in a frenzy of hand-waving, feet-stomping euphoria as Megan picked up the microphone and sang the first lines of the tune. The sound that was produced in the live setting closely resembled the sound that listeners have become familiar with on the album. In fact, the 11-track album was played verbatim, save for the order, which was slightly altered from the album’s list of tracks.
The dim, shadowy atmosphere of The Orpheum seemed to compliment the band’s music, as well as their extensive visual display. With cocoon-like fixtures dangling from the ceiling around the stage, the band commenced with the rest of their set. Creating an illuminated backdrop of lush luminescence upon the stage, Purity Ring brought an audio-visual experience to Ybor that concert-goers are sure to remember.