Purity Ring: Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix, AZ 8/31/12

Chills writhed and spasamed down spines as a crescendo of ghostly vocals and chaotic drum patterns filled downtown Phoenix’s Crescent Ballroom.  The accumulated build-up of eerie synth and echoing electro tones – later satisfied by deep, bellowing basses – was exactly what fans of newly formed Canadian indie-electronic pop duo, Purity Ring, stood braving the unruly heat in the packed venue to hear.

The anticipation leading up to the show for this hype band was legit– as Megan James and Corin Roddick teased listeners with one single after another that were released over the course of a year – ultimately resulting in Shrines (released July 24th).

Mâché lanterns suspended nearly invisibly from the ceiling flashed alternations of neon with the rhythm of the set – providing a light performance that, coupled with the witch house-like combination of dark lyricism and pop sound, sent one feeling like they’d just flown with Alice down the rabbit hole. And those lyrics – intelligent and ghostly – flew nearly under the radar if one weren’t listening past the dream-pop closely enough.

“There’s a cut, there’s a cut inside of me. Find the salt sprinkle it and rattle me,” James crooned eerily through Saltkin, as Corin showcased production that seemed to emulate an almost hip-hop- like influence. And yes – by the time you are reading down to this very sentence – that is now four separate descriptions written to accumulatively categorize Purity Ring, because no one can quite seem to agree how to stifle the two into any particular box.

As if Megan’s lyrics in the aforementioned example weren’t eerie enough – then came Fineshrine: “Cut open my sternum and pull my little ribs around you,” she sang through manipulated vocals and deemed the song practically the most ghostly of all.

That mystery Megan and Corin embodied before, and as they took the stage maintained itself throughout the show, as they spoke nothing to the crowd of curious fans adorned in plenty of thick-rimmed glasses, high-waist jeans and loafers.

Though many may have overestimated Purity Ring’s “undergroundedness,” that belief was nearly instantly shattered when the duo not only sold out the venue, but led fans to scrounge for entrance days prior and pack themselves inside the day of. Ultimately this type of adulation labeled the Crescent show deservingly as a, “Oh, you weren’t there? You should have been,” type of small before they were huge performance.

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