by Laura Eley |photography by Samuel Engelking
They came, they played, and they lit up the stage with jellyfish-inspired fixtures and seashell percussion lights. Despite being far removed from the ocean at Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre, Purity Ring, who burst into the electronic music world with their 2012 consolidated album, Shrines, washed a cool electronic wave across Friday night’s sold out show. And it was distinctly refreshing.
Edmontonians Megan James and Corin Roddick, the duo who make up Purity Ring, arrived on time and ready to create not only an unwound sound, but an atmosphere to accompany it. Aided by interactive, glowing lights, James played with her occasionally mumbly, ethereal mermaid voice, a complement to Roddick’s orchestral, Sebastian-the-crab performance on the synthesizer and drums. The crowd, held transfixed mostly of their own volition but also perhaps due to their chemicals of choice, completely absorbed the encompassing artistic presentation that Purity Ring offered, growing slightly livelier with hits “Lofticries” and “Belispeak”.
The harmonies and layered sounds were deceivingly larger than might be expected from a duo, and it was clear that James and Roddick don’t use beats to simply create movement. What they generate is quite fluid, and unlike various other electronic groups who grasp at synthesizers to fill space. This pair utilized lagged momentum and repetition to capture the crowd’s mood and attention.
As Toronto marked the last stop on their recent tour, we can (hopefully) look forward to more from Purity Ring, a shining example of Canadian strength in the electronic scene.