Shrines - Purity Ring
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. Jul 25, 2012
    70
    Shrines is a fine debut, full of lighter-than-air synth pop that manages to be dark, sparkling, innocent, and knowing all at once.
  2. Sep 13, 2012
    89
    The refrain in "Fineshrine" ("Get a little closer, let it fold/Cut open my sternum and pull/My little ribs around you") sums up Purity Ring with creepy efficacy, consuming and surrounding the listener. And as sweetly chirped by Megan James, it never seems like a bad thing.
  3. Jul 25, 2012
    90
    Purity Ring have pulled off the feat of producing one of the year's most arresting debuts – a Grimm Tales for the 2010s, shrouded in the illusory threads of contemporary club music – while sounding like no-one else but themselves.
  4. Shrines functions just fine as a collection of Purity Ring's work thus far, but it also functions as a singular, cohesive artistic statement, a capital-a Album, and that's much more rewarding.
  5. Jul 25, 2012
    80
    Pulling the entire effort back from the precipice of cliché is the immediate charisma of vocalist Megan James, particularly engaging when hurdling over cleverly constructed lines of wordplay.
  6. Jul 17, 2012
    70
    The Canadian boy-girl duo's debut is a whirl of delicate dream pop.
  7. Jul 24, 2012
    70
    The synths are so smooth sounding that after a few moments they begin to lull you but not into sleep. This is way too dark of a place for sleep; it seems more like hypnosis.
  8. 80
    Combining French house production techniques with narcotic Flocka beats are what pop dreams are made of, and they own it with style and confidence.
  9. 80
    Dreamy at times (Crawlersout), with shimmering synths and picturesque melodies, there is a haunting beauty, almost terrifying, that surrounds the listener, almost as if one is sitting inside a sonic cocoon while taking it all in.
  10. Jul 25, 2012
    80
    Shrines is the sound of the air beneath your bed whispering when you rest.
  11. Aug 3, 2012
    50
    Shrines lacks any friction; Purity Ring has created a very viable sound that doesn't offend or stick.
  12. Jul 24, 2012
    80
    There's something inexplicable about Purity Ring's marriage of Montrealer Corin Roddick's haunted, bass-heavy hip-hop-tronic production to Haligonian Megan James's prim alto croon, something that transcends what is traditionally accepted as "good" music.
  13. Jul 19, 2012
    80
    The final outcome is a trebly plastic-fantastic quality, rendering Shrines closer in tone and texture to coke-rap than ethereal indie.
  14. Jul 31, 2012
    78
    The juxtaposition of an earnest attempt at a spook with what otherwise sounds like super-weird children's songs is at least genuinely interesting, falling short of fear-inspiring, if that's what they were after.
  15. Jul 24, 2012
    85
    Although they rarely stray far from their now-familiarly icy aesthetic on Shrines, the decidedly captivating manner with which Purity ring navigates said aesthetic makes for one of the most exciting debuts in recent memory. [No.89, p.59]
  16. Jul 19, 2012
    80
    Despite minor niggles, such as the slight lack of scope in sound, Shrines is a confident debut that justifies the hype.
  17. 90
    Shrines is a euphoric treat in its own right, made all the more thrilling by its heady potential.
  18. Aug 1, 2012
    80
    The songwriting is versatile but cohesive; every song clearly has its own place on Shrines, and each one has a strong hook, at least one beat or lyric you'll find yourself thinking over for a little bit.
  19. Jul 26, 2012
    60
    The inventiveness in James's vocals draws attention to the lack of that quality in Roddick's production, which grows clichéd after a while.
  20. Jul 24, 2012
    82
    Yes, there are some moments on Shrines where Purity Ring falls back on some of witch-house's less-lovely tendencies (the hip-hop flourishes of "Grandloves" are as out of place as they are predictable), but those moments are entirely forgivable, given the totality of vision and the strength of execution throughout the rest of the record.
  21. Jul 24, 2012
    84
    Shrines is not about range, instead offering subtly different versions of a single, near-perfect idea. You might think of the album as a sculpture, and each track offers a different vantage point... compulsively listenable.
  22. Jul 23, 2012
    60
    Purity Ring are an alluring concept – the lyrical imagery alone is dazzling – and there is divinity here worthy of rapture and reverence. However, even over a polite forty minutes, familiarity and repetition conspire to break the spell.
  23. Aug 2, 2012
    60
    Both vocals and music here shimmer with a weird radiance... to dizzying, intoxicating effect. [Aug 2012, p.108]
  24. Jul 26, 2012
    70
    As a closer [song "Shuck"], it's an interesting moment and one particularly reflective of Shrines' strengths and its dualistic intrigues: the serenity of Roddick's buoyant, burbling synths amidst James's hallucinatory full-moon visions.
  25. Sep 5, 2012
    60
    [A] sense of distance permeates the music: dark, mutable, likably repetitive synth whirr that recalls artfully creepy bands like the Knife.
  26. Jul 20, 2012
    60
    Purity Ring is trying to do too much, and true to the less-is-more adage, the busier Shrines gets, the emptier it feels.
  27. Aug 10, 2012
    70
    The contrast between Purity Ring's two halves is special and compelling, but Shrines goes over best when Roddick's reverent sound and James' lustful fury synchronize and break you off properly, womb-stem-style.
  28. Jul 24, 2012
    91
    The band's ability to put repulsive images and to a danceable beat makes Shrines a knockout.
  29. Jul 17, 2012
    63
    Although the band's sonic stew isn't particularly remarkable or consistent (instrumentation oscillates between warm and comforting, and distant and anemic), their lyrics have a peculiar charm that keeps them alluring.
  30. Jul 20, 2012
    90
    It's a record that effortlessly juxtaposes chopped up electronics and ghostly effects with James' supersweet voice to create eleven strange but simple pleasures.
  31. Jul 17, 2012
    80
    Whatever it all means, it's delivered with a joyous glee, and anyone searching for a more electro-based companion to Grimes' Visions need look no further.
  32. Jul 23, 2012
    80
    This is a record with reference points of the highest quality (Björk, Fever Ray, Burial), which, at best, bears comparison with them all.
  33. Jul 23, 2012
    90
    'Shrines' is a joy from start to finish, with a sticking power that so many others seem to lack.... It would be no surprise to see Purity Ring top the end of year round-ups.
  34. Aug 8, 2012
    40
    The LP plays at depth and synthesis while making do with simply reproducing indie electro-pop tropes.
  35. Jul 17, 2012
    70
    Shrines sees this young Canadian duo tamper with generic electro to create often sparkling results. [Aug 2012, p.78]
  36. Jul 25, 2012
    80
    The record largely blurs together into a gloriously inscrutable haze, but certain songs resonate as sundry, singular experiences.
  37. Jul 25, 2012
    45
    Purity Ring suffers from the all-too-popular idea that pitch-shifted vocal samples and well-calibrated washes of reverb are enough to create haunting, enigmatic music, as opposed to crafting singular worlds of sound that convey the soul of their creator and resonate within the listener.
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 78 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Jul 25, 2012
    10
    An outstanding debut, this sound so addictive and deepest more than ever! a surprising and well done job! one of the best new band actually! Ungirthed, Fineshrine, Saltkin and Belispeak are highly recommendable! Full Review »
  2. Aug 14, 2012
    10
    wow i cant believe that the critic score has gone so low! Purity Ring's shrines is probably my favorite album this year, along with diiv's oshin. I hope they build on this album's success Full Review »
  3. Jul 31, 2012
    10
    The Canadians have been on heavy rotation and recommended highly to friends.

    Incredible flow, catchy yet easily lost in the background - an
    amazing debut album.

    Grandloves and Loftcries are a favourite - Look forward to seeing them live!
    Full Review »