Pure Bathing Culture's debut album debut album, 'Moon Tides', is released on 19 August 2013 through Memphis Industries.
Like twilight sea waters, there’s a whole world that lurks beneath the shimmering surface of Pure Bathing Culture’s spectral pop just waiting to be explored. It’s a world where keyboardist Sarah Versprille’s crystalline vocals waltz with Daniel Hindman's mewing guitar lines, where soaring synth lines dance around gentle drum machine rattles, where ‘80s pop influences – Cocteau Twins, Prefab Sprout, the Eurythmics, Everything But The Girl – meet gauzy West Coast mysticism. “New age symbolism and pretty much anything that has to do with humans making sense of why we're all here is a deep muse for us,” says Hindman, The two form the heart of a band whose mesmerising sound doesn’t come around all too often. One listen to Moon Tides, their eagerly anticipated debut album, and you’ll be pleased you hitched a ride.
Moon Tides is both about change, and the result of one. Escaping the bustling corners of New York borough Brooklyn for riverside life in Portland, Oregon – an impulse move – the band began in 2009 as a move out of the shadows for Versprille and Hindman, from backing figures in cult troubadour Andy Cabic’s Vetiver band to standalone stars. “Looking back now on the nine songs we wrote for this record, one of the main themes we deal with is the idea of transformation,” Versprille notes, “and it all it entails – perseverance, death, resilience.” Don’t be mistaken, however. Though its lyrics burrow deep into what it means to dream, staring intensely into an existential black, this is a joyous listen, a rite of self-discovery – like waking up from an epiphanous dream, in a cold sweat with a wide smile.
From the melancholic chimes of opener Pendulum, described as a “thick and gleaming” slice of “sumptuous indie” by Stereogum, to the reverb-stained shimmy of Twins, which borrows from Greek mythology (“when Castor was killed, Pollux asked Zeus to let him share his own immortality with his twin to keep them together, and they were transformed into the constellation Gemini,” explains Hindman), Moon Tides is a record that claws at your attention and emotions like waves lapping at shore – gently, quietly, but unmistakeably. Studio desk duties once more fell to The Shins keyboardist and Foxygen producer Richard Swift, who worked with the group on their self-titled breakout 2012 EP, whose influence on the album the band refuse to understate. “He has this magical intuition,” says Hindman. “Pretty much all tracks are all first or very early takes. Richard is kind of a stickler about this, and I don’t actually go in with a clean, pristine idea of what I’m going to play, so there’s a lot of improvisation.”
With fans including Father John Misty (who recently took the group out on tour), Damien Jurado (who enlisted Hindman’s hand on his excellent Marqopa release) and Foxygen (whose latest LP sees a cameo from Vesprille), Pure Bathing Culture’s debut is a sun-splashed gem that promises a huge future for the duo. Do yourself a favour and dive on in.