Canada's Purity Ring—i.e., singer Megan James and producer/instrumentalist Corin Roddick—pulls off something rather remarkable on its 2012 debut album. The duo takes chilly synths, arctic beats, and space-age vocals and warms them up. The music's mechanical edge is smoothed with melodies that recall the soothing nostalgia of long-passed love and pop songs. Roddick doesn't make it easy. As with vintage Daft Punk, his textures constantly shift—creating the sense that James is jumping from one quicksand patch to another. To her credit, James never loses her composure. She stays on course through the stuttering pulses of "Ungirthed" and hits angelic peaks for the raging waves of "Anemany." "Lofticries" aligns closer to '80s-styled synth-pop, with large blocks of keyboards rising at sharp angles. "Grandloves," featuring Young Magic, throws out a murky hip-hop groove. The synths of "Cartographist" hold down the bottom end, with James filling in the sparse atmospherics with alien harmonies.

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