Image by Sebastian Mlynarski.
A purity ring (the item) is kind of like a pre-engagement ring meets a chastity belt — the former being a 1990s invention to remind teens to wait until marriage. The latter, from the 15th century or so, was less of a reminder and more of locking device that kept the body parts in question off limits.
Purity Ring (the band) is neither so wearable nor so philosophically intense (actually, they are both wearable and philosophical). But the Canadian duo (Corin Roddick and Megan James) is talented, edgy and weird — in an inspiring and other-worldly way. “They make lullabies for the club, drawing equally from airy 90s R&B, lush dream pop, and the powerful, bone-rattling immediacy of modern hip hop,” says press for the band. “Megan’s remarkable voice is at once both ecstatic and ethereal, soaring wistfully above Corin’s intricately chopped drum programming, trembling sub-bass, and skewed vocal samples.”
Their critically-acclaimed debut, Shrines, was released this past summer. They travel with a lighting rig that’s touch-triggered (“tangible interactions,” James explains in a video interview). Here’s an image of Roddick performing with the lights:
And there’s this: The duo was named Band of the Week by Vogue. The fashion magazine noted, “former fashion-school graduate James designed and hand stitched their outfits, as well as the backdrop in front of which they perform.”
And: “With Shrines already winning universal praise and the band’s visuals growing more and more intricate by the day (according to James, we can expect to see even more pulsating lights in their upcoming shows), are there plans to eventually expand into a full-blown fashion and music house? ‘I don’t really know what to do with it,’ says James from Halifax, where she is preparing for their upcoming tour, which starts this week. ‘Maybe my own line. If I hadn’t started Purity Ring, I’d still be selling stuff to stores around town. That, and daydreaming about moving to San Francisco.’”