By Sydney Moyer, Music Editor
As my friend and I were getting ready to hop the T to see Purity Ring at the House of Blues last Wednesday, my roommate asked me what kind of show we were going to. My friend and I both looked at one another perplexed and emitted this kind of non-committal hem-haw type noise that I’m tempted to make again as I sit here trying to describe this band in an article.
My friend later informed me that Purity Ring, the Canadian duo (my second one this week!), made up of vocalist Megan James and beatmaster Corin Roddick, was classified as “Intelligent Dance Music” (commonly known as IDM, according to Wikipedia, although I think they fudged that “commonly” descriptor there). While that strikes me as a slightly idiotic name for a genre of music, I have to admit that it seems kind of fitting. Purity Ring is like Grimes in that it incorporates elements commonly found in EDM (bass drops, wub-wubs, reverberant drum beats, etc.), but slowed rhythms and haunting high-pitched vocals illustrate its difference from artists in the traditional EDM vein.
At first, the audience seemed to echo my confusion about the band– was it a dance show? Should there be dancing? Should we just quietly sway back and forth and try not to brush elbows too offensively with the neighbors? However, as James and Roddick wound their way through a set largely made up of their debut album, Shrines, it didn’t seem to matter what type of music it was, just that every single person in the House of Blues seemed to react to it in one way or another. There was fist-pumping and some pushing, but there was also arm-swaying and what looked like interpretive dancing.
Purity Ring’s dreamy synth-infused whatever-you-want-to-label-it brand of music was met with a crazy set and lighting design made up of what looked like eggs or buoys lit up in different colors and hanging from sticks behind the stage, and the combination made for a highly entertaining, totally danceable show, although James needs to work on her stage presence. She has a phenomenal voice perfectly suited to the band’s sound, but if Purity Ring wants to rise to Grimes or Ellie Goulding status in the next few years, they’re going to need a bit more umph than a bunch of fancy egg lights. Judging from what they’ve accomplished so far though, I’d say that day is not far off.