At this moment, you better believe 4AD’s got peeps Googling till their fingers bleed, maybe even scouring our nation on foot, looking for the next Canadian act to sign to its ever-expanding roster. After locking in and breaking Montreal’s Grimes, they caught on to Edmonton-bred, Halifax/Montreal-based duo Purity Ring (and they’ve since added Vancouver weirdo Blood Diamonds, Grimes’s BFF).
Purity Ring’s debut album, Shrines, arrives only a year-and-a-half after one-time Gobble Gobble members Megan James and Corin Roddick formed the duo. It also comes smack dab in the middle of a period where ’90s R&B and Southern hip-hop production has become a religion. And while there is no shortage of that stuff emerging on blogs from the laptops of hipsters, Purity Ring are pushing things forward with a sound that could be right at home on labels like Tri Angle or Hyperdub.
Roddick’s 808 snares and chiming synths may not break new ground, but with James’s hypnotically candy-coated vocals ringing out psychosexual horror-flick imagery, they crystallize with the same kind of winning dichotomy as Sleigh Bells.
Call it nightmare pop, call it future pop, whatever. Shrines is a worthy contemporary to Grimes or, hell, even Carly Rae Jepsen, as an ambassador for Canada’s latest pop boom.