Purity Ring — Shrines

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The frigid yin to CHVRCHES' blazing yang

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"Get a little closer, let fold /
Cut open my sternum and pull /
My little ribs around you /
The lungs of me be crowns under you"

Upon a cursory inspection, you may be forgiven for mistaking Purity Ring for CHVRCHES. To be sure, the similarities are striking: jagged, glowing thrusts of synthesiser punctuated by stuttering drum machines, while a cherubic soprano flutters and swoops above and around. But where CHVRCHES radiate warmth and joy, Purity Ring exudes coldness and restraint.

Depending on the audience, the bright and charming Lauren Mayberry may seem to be rhapsodising on the human condition, or speaking only to the listener. Such is the sweet spot of intimacy that she inhabits. But Megan James balances in a different Lagrange point. She makes observations so pointed and piercing that were they not couched in apt surrealisms they would be downright chilling.

Mayberry occupies a middle ground that belongs at once to both sides. James is so far to the left that she, like Pacman, has come out to the right.

"I've been unruly /
In my dreams /
And with my speech /
Drill little holes into my eyelids /
That I might see you /
When I sleep"