Mention the suspect internet genre ‘witch house’ and you’ll get a bunch of confused faces – or disgusted ones, if you’re amidst a crowd of musicophiles. But, you can’t mention Canadian duo Purity Ring, who sold out Webster Hall at the beginning of their winter tour on Saturday night after breaking out this past summer, without bringing up the phrase.
Vocalist Megan James and instrumentalist/producer Corin Roddick have an accessible, electropop take on this dark realm of music – which is why they, and not genre-defining artist Salem, can rise beyond underground circles.
What James and Roddick describe as ‘future pop’ is filled with eerie, dreadful lyrics about getting your ribcage cracked open, little holes drilled into eyelids and dead flesh left on hillsides.
The duo played the entirety of their debut album, “Shrines” as well as a cover of Soulja Boy’s soulful “Grammy” in their short, 45 minute set. They often hid behind translucent blue light, Roddick’s synth/xylophone/drum machine creation and a backdrop of lit oblong balls.
Just as the album works, suspending judgment can evoke a larger than life experience. For the crowd, a seemingly handpicked assortment of 20-some stereotypical Brooklyn types, they couldn’t get enough of the bass-heavy, atmospheric pop songs.
Jams from “Crawlersout” to “Fineshrine” smoothly emanated through the room – and while James’ airy voice was occasionally lost underneath bass shifts, they got their point across.
Wherever your opinion falls on the genre, the loud, delicate songs appeal to a certain crowd. As Canadian newspaper The Link puts it, their music is like “sex between hipsters and robots.” Even hipsters need sex.