"The band that Purity Ring most reminds me of is High Places. The dubbed-out retro-futuristic approach to sound, the male/female duo, the connection to the earlier iterations of indie pop, the experiments with live spectacle. And High Places also emerged more or less fully formed, with the singles and EPs collected on 03/07 - 09/07 pulling together au courant influences into something that felt personal and new. But ever since, High Places have had some difficulty figuring out where to go next. Once you own a sound and make it your own, it’s not always easy to leave it behind. We’ll see how that plays out with Purity Ring. For now, the compulsively listenable Shrines stands quite well on its own. Most bands never manage a statement this forceful."
- Excerpt from Purity Ring’s “Shrines” review by Mark Richardson
Something really irks me about this review. It reads less like a piece of contextual criticism and errs more on the side of social justification of an band/album that, by the standards of other bands (“dubbed-out”) that rise out of mp3 blogs (your tumblr’s, your generic buzzblog’s, etc.) described by fake adjectives, shouldn’t be very good. This leads to a thought that I have been contemplating for a while: is the Best New Music label simply becoming a stamp of social verification? Am I alone on this perception?