Pure Bathing Culture – Pray For Rain Review

Sarah Verspille and Daniel Hindman make up Portland’s Pure Bathing Culture; a duo of well developed and meaningful pop music and last month they released their second full length studio album with Pray For Rain. With most groups on to their second album the minimum requirement would be playing it safe and from that their options range from building on what they know or going off in a completely different direction. Pure Bathing Culture have wisely chosen the former as they still bed themselves in to the pop genre.

The title track is quite simply a well functioned piece of space rock or electronic psychedelica. It has a basic and unflappable beat throughout and from this solid foundation the guitars wash over in their distorted haze and the from this the delicate synths carry the song along before Sarah picks up with her easily melodic, pop vocals. In what is a brilliant piece of pop music the song rings out confidently in a strident fashion and this is only advanced by the confident vocals and backing vocals. Beyond this it has more the meets the eye with it’s washed out guitars fading into the distance and this really opens up the song to allow the vocals and synth parts to remain prominent. A great track. ‘Palest Pearl’ is much more clean and crisp in it’s pop delivery with buoyant electronica driving the song in a definitive fashion with Sarah’s melodic howling pinpointing the song’s obvious pop sensibility. It offers up imagery of an early 80’s electronic disco and though it’s a well worn sound they make it a little less cold and layer it with modern pop methodology to limit it’s datedness.

‘Darling Save Us’ provides us with slightly warped, jangling riffs and Sarah’s delicately distorted vocals for what is a light hearted track of basic melody. These small sounds are expanded upon with vocals harmonies and a more prominent beat to shed light onto the track, but it is a track which feels like it is without ending with repetitive vocal filler making up a significant part of the song. ‘Clover’ delivers similarly tightly woven pop riffs with blocky synth chords and these combine with sharp 80’s percussion samples to make a song that actually ends up becoming more graceful and effortless in it’s delivery then you might first think and Sarah’s vocals are given a greater expanse in order to achieve this, but the instrumentation remains smooth in it’s own right. Song’s such as ‘I Trace Your Symbol’ offer up neat pieces of Indie Pop akin to Belle & Sebastian with a greater sonic identity. The album has a tried and tested formula which they freshen up and work well, but it is nothing that will really excite you in this regard. Having said that, there are some brilliantly melodic and functional tracks here on this album and they have shown they can combine catchiness with lavish expanses so whilst this album won’t set the world on fire, it can be appreciated as a very solid body of work by very capable musicians.

Pure Bathing Culture – Pray For Rain = 7.5/10

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

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