Purity Ring: "Lofticries"

Single (2011)

By Conrad Tao | 5 August 2011

Daniel Snaith has claimed that Caribou’s Swim (2010) was his attempt to make “liquid dance music,” but forget that. Purity Ring makes a far better claim to that title. The duo’s debut single, “Ungirthed,” is an agreeable piece of choppy, danceable pop, but the B-side, “Lofticries,” is something else entirely. Just a tad too slow to be a proper banger, the song provokes movement of a different and more sinuous sort, and it’s utterly intoxicating.

Atop a deep, irregular beat, a subtle and unusual chord progression sneaks dissonance in at unexpected spots while descending synth arpeggios create plinking pentatonic raindrops. The song’s rising chorus of “We waited, tense, with lofticries” is hypnotizing, delivered in an even tone one might call aloof if Megan James’ voice wasn’t so effortlessly ethereal. That gorgeous wisp of an alto is a counterpoint to Corin Roddick’s woozy (but defiantly pristine) production. Reverbed handclaps, tinny snares, and thick synthesizers are pretty much standard blog fare at this point, but through effective use of dynamic compression, Roddick allows his sounds to breathe as they glide in and out. This ebb and flow provides an elegant sonic equivalent to the song’s depiction of sex: “You must be hovering over yourself watching us trip on each other’s sides.” It’s an eerily distant image, seemingly sung from far above the rest of the track, creating a palpable tension between James’ shadowy utterances and the pulsating bass. The only way to resolve this unease, it seems, is to let oneself be ensconced in Purity Ring’s potent surges of sound.