Purity Ring at the Larimer Lounge, 8/29/12 (review) - Reverb

Purity Ring at the Larimer Lounge, 8/29/12 (review)

Purity Ring headlined the Larimer Lounge on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Purity Ring headlined the Larimer Lounge on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of the artist.

There’s no doubt that, this week, Tampa, Fla. is lodging a fair amount of folks sporting purity rings on their fingers. And while Denver might feel lonely this convention season after the hustle and bustle of four years ago, the Mile High City could take comfort in playing host to the hyped Canadian duo known as Purity Ring.

One thing out of the gate: Megan James and Corin Roddick have crafted one of the year’s finest debuts. Cherry-picking tunes from much of “Shrines” at the late show Wednesday night — the Larimer added an earlier show after the first sold out — the adventurous and layered nature of the band’s songwriting was apparent. Right off the bat, though, the group had to deal with a hiccup on “Belispeak” and begin it anew. No one, to be sure, can be absolutely pure.

And that start-stop-start blew a bit of air under Oz’s curtain: Roddick manned a mysterious soundboard all evening, often breaking to beat drumsticks against lights that illuminated on cue. Still, the rhythms were too complex for him to have been in total control. Was he just spinning a CD? Probably not but because the instrumentals sounded so crisp and immediate, it was hard to say what was going on. It’s also hard to say if it really mattered. Let’s call it the Daft Punk Quandary: Just what is going on behind that table, and do I deserve to know?

“Fineshrine” was wonderful and illuminated a bit of what separates Purity Ring from an ever-multiplying mob of electro bands fronted by a pretty girl with a pretty voice. The song’s lyrics are sinister and, as on much of “Shrines,” there’s language and word games that would make J.R.R. Tolkien scratch his head.

Roddick (or his computer) subtly tweaked the mixes of many of the tunes, popping in an extra beat here and layering a hook there. Standing among a field of glowing orbs that could’ve been produced by Ridley Scott, Roddick turned the bass knobs to 11. During “Cartographist,” you could feel forearm hairs waving like wheat stalks on a windy day; James’s voice poked sweetly through all the while.

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Colin St. John is a Denver-based writer and merrymaker. Follow him on Twitter and check out his blog.