Purity Ring - Shrines
Critic Score
Based on 31 reviews
2012 Ratings: #126 / 928
Year End Rank: #30
User Score
Based on 275 ratings
2012 Ratings: #57
July 24, 2012 / Release Date
LP / Format
4AD / Last Gang / Label
Synthpop / Genres
Your Review


A.V. Club
Corin Roddick’s off-kilter instrumentals—warm washes of synths, chopped and pitch-shifted vocal samples, and skittish, hyperactive beats—envelope Megan James’ wistful coo to create a set of remarkable, accessible tunes.

‘Shrines’ is a euphoric treat in its own right, made all the more thrilling by its heady potential. 

There hasn’t been an album this genuine, exciting and plain heartfelt since The XX’s debut – it seems inevitable that Purity Ring will go on to garner the same levels of recognition.
The Fly
It’s a record that effortlessly juxtaposes chopped up electronics and ghostly effects with James’ supersweet voice to create eleven strange but simple pleasures.
Beats Per Minute

Shrines often operates like a series of paintings, each of its pieces a variation on a theme, the full breadth of the artist’s vision only realized within the context of the whole.


Shrines is not about range, instead offering subtly different versions of a single, near-perfect idea.

Pretty Much Amazing

Shrines is sure to solidify its fan base while not necessarily changing the minds of those that had written them off.


There are some moments on Shrines where Purity Ring falls back on some of witch-house’s less-lovely tendencies, but those moments are entirely forgivable, given the totality of vision and the strength of execution throughout the rest of the record.


Ignore the undertones of James' lyrics and you'll find an album that provides a fair few moments of pop brilliance.

FACT Magazine

Without compromising their rustic, Grimm fairytale undertone, they’ve turned in a chromed, hi-tech pop album.

Consequence of Sound

Shrines isn’t trying to capitalize on some moment where rapid hi-hats and deep bass mix with dream-pop vocals; it manipulates two elements to make something malleable, elusive, sexual.

Drowned in Sound

There is something so deft about this LP that you can’t help but feel that it is more than merely a by-product of its kooky genesis.

Under The Radar

The record largely blurs together into a gloriously inscrutable haze, but certain songs resonate as sundry, singular experiences.

No Ripcord

Purity Ring has crafted an album in Shrines that stands head and shoulders above the works of their peers.

The Skinny
This is glistening, perfect pop music with a vein of cold, dark intelligence running through it. Utterly enchanting.
The Line of Best Fit
What separates this from the pack though, is that this psycho little workout is delivered with a uniformity of sound, a clarity of intent and a bushel of bold choruses to match the sexualised trauma of Megan James’ bold, bright and brilliant lyrics.
The 405

Shrines isn't perfect, but it's a bold debut and one that hints of potential greatness to come.


As it stands, Shrines is a fine debut, full of lighter-than-air synth pop that manages to be dark, sparkling, innocent, and knowing all at once.


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.

Resident Advisor

Shrines melds the blurry mesmerism of Tri Angle acts like Holy Other and Balam Acab with slow-pitched R&B reclines and the kind of artfully-constructed but spacious pop of 4AD's second phase heyday.


Shrines holds skyward a handful of some of the finest offerings Planet Pop can muster in 2012, yet as an “album experience” it ultimately fails to merit a new religion.

Rolling Stone

That sense of distance permeates the music: dark, mutable, likably repetitive  synth whirr that recalls artfully creepy bands like the Knife.

Slant Magazine

Purity Ring is trying to do too much, and true to the less-is-more adage, the busier Shrines gets, the emptier it feels.

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.
Tiny Mix Tapes
Catchy? Yes. Concerned with synthesis beyond reverb-leavened juxtaposition? Perhaps not.
Aug 6, 2017
This album took a very niche electronic sound and made it great. I believe this album stands at the best example of what this weird electronic sound can do, because this album is full of songs that are moving, with their tranquil yet stimulating sound. It also does a lot with minimal notes at times. Megan James’s distinctive voice and vocal style are not outstanding one their own, but they are effective and add a great element to the music. At certain points this album fails to vary ... read more
Oct 15, 2012
Tom Simmons
Purity Ring has proved that they can deliver on a per song basis the same mystical cerebral techno vibe that's expected from them.
Sep 9, 2012
Love this album... squarely in my top 5 right now.
Dec 19, 2017
A decent album from Purity Ring that is far from being memorable for most of the time, but holds up as being enjoyable from the standpoint of background music.
Dec 16, 2017
Best Tracks: Lofticries, Grandloves, Saltkin
Worst Tracks: NONE
Best Moment: The outro to saltkin
#14/Pitchfork Readers
Track List
  1. Crawlersout 
  2. Fineshrine 
  3. Ungirthed 
  4. Amenamy 
  5. Grandloves 
  6. Cartographist 
  7. Belispeak 
  8. Saltkin 
  9. Obedear 
  10. Lofticries 11 Shuck

Added on: April 24, 2012