Preview: Purity Ring at Ace of Cups

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From the September 13, 2012 edition

Scheduled against Friday headliner Feist at Pitchfork Music Festival last July, Canadian duo Purity Ring drew a healthy portion of the crowd. Those who flocked to the side stage saw singer Megan James twirling lanterns with art-school aplomb alongside producer dude Corin Roddick and a light show. It was a spectacle to be sure, but not exactly spectacular.

Perhaps the stage show seems less preposterous after ingesting “Shrines,” Purity Ring’s impressive debut for longstanding indie institution 4AD.

The album presents James and Roddick as an icier equivalent to Sleigh Bells, another partnership that matches bombastic production with bubblegum vocals. But instead of ear-searing guitar crackle, “Shrines” trades in bass-heavy synth productions that gurgle, bend and sigh in foreboding fashion. Elements of hip-hop linger — check that screwed vocal on “Odebear” — but James’ pixie routine and Roddick’s flair for the ethereal ensure this music sounds alien.

They’ll touch down Monday at Ace of Cups with Evian Christ and Headaches.