Editors’ Notes With its mesmerizing fusion of dream-pop melodies and chiseled trap beats, Purity Ring’s 2012 debut Shrines helped define the sound of modern indie rock, while their 2015 follow-up Another Eternity refined the songcraft to the point where the duo earned invites to tour and collaborate with Katy Perry. But any expectations that Edmonton, Alberta's Megan James and Corin Roddick might follow their famous benefactor into the Top 40 are quickly turned upside down by WOMB’s woozy atmosphere and digital psychedelic maximalism. “We always described Shrines as like being in a cave,” James explains to Apple Music, “and I always thought of Another Eternity existing in the sky. With this one, it feels like we're sort of back inside. But I always feel like what we do is pop music, even if my definition of pop music might be very different from how other people define it.” True to its title, WOMB lyrically explores the power and pitfalls of womanhood while sonically conjuring a space that’s “warm, comforting, and peaceful—a resting place, which I think is necessary these days.” Here is James’ track-by-track guide to help you acclimate to your new surroundings.

rubyinsides
“We want each song to fill its own space and have its own pull and feeling, and warrant its existence on the record. 'rubyinsides' has this magnetism and swallowing motion and heavy water feeling, in terms of the production. The vocals are really buried and sort of swirling and confusing. I feel like it has some vibe that’s relative to Shrines.”

pink lightning
“I had a family reunion last summer, and it was hard in the way one would expect family reunions to be. The night before it started, a bunch of us got together up in Montana. The weather was beautiful and sunny, and we were making pizza in the oven outside. But then all of a sudden, huge raindrops started coming down, and it was immediately the craziest storm I've ever encountered. One tree actually fell into someone's cabin and hit the bunk bed, and then one almost fell on my niece—all these near-death experiences and total havoc. And then 10 minutes later it was over and the sky was pink and everyone was sitting inside the sunroom and just listening to the lightning. Then the family reunion happened, and it was so hard. So afterward I was like, ‘Oh, my god, that whole reunion was like that storm’—it was like the precursor to the turmoil of being with family.”

peacefall
“This is about a friend who said something so nice to me but I was distracted and wasn't listening. And then later on, someone told me what they said, and it was really vulnerable and kind, and I felt really bad for having missed what they said. So this song is me trying to qualify what I missed, but also trying to redeem myself, because I still feel bad about it! I guess the song is sort of like a gift, because I made a mistake. The backing vocal is by Jonas Bjerre from [Danish rock band] Mew, who were a major part of our teenage years, so we were really excited to have him on this song.”

i like the devil
“This song is about the role of femininity and how it's been viewed traditionally, and how I think it's beautiful, but also really fucked-up and dark. The song has a lot of antiquity—it's really about women in my very traditional family, and me, in a way. It's about how I see that and how I don't like it. These roles can feel unchanging and we can feel stuck, in the context of the way that the people close to you view you.”

femia
“This is about my mom's sister, who passed away last summer. She was like the matriarch of the family, and she's the first sibling of seven to pass. So this is my interpretation of the first death in the family I’ve experienced as an adult, when I can understand it. Also, Femia is a family name, so that calls back to the traditional roles of women in my family. I guess I've just had a lot of feelings these past few years in regards to my family.”

sinew
“The first line is ‘rest like you belong here’—it's more about comfort than death, but touching on death is never really unintentional with me, it's like always lurking. ‘sinew’ took, like, two years to finish. We had the verses first, and I tried so many times for a chorus, and it never felt right. And then, two years later, it finally came together. It was one of those times where you’re like, 'I guess sometimes a song is worth giving up, but then sometimes a song is worth pushing through for,' and it's hard to weigh out when your patience is needed for something like that. But if you can decide when it is, it's worth it in the end.”

vehemence
“This song went through a lot. We ended up using a lot of parts from other songs that didn't work, but then it really came together and we were really pumped about it. There are parts in this song that are among the very first things we did when we started writing this record back in 2016, and there are parts in the song that we recorded while we were mixing, so it's a combination of the very first and the very last things we did for the record. I wanted the song to feel comforting and peaceful, but at the same time it's a call-out to some kind of religious naivete and how prayers don't work. It's sarcastic, like I am.”

silkspun
“It's kind of about drowning. There is a lot of water on this record—it’s been a watery few years! This record ended up being its own world, and within that world, each song is its own character. Yeah, they're about people in my life, but through the lens of my perspective, the characters sort of become mythological or scriptural, as I like to say. The archetype for 'silkspun' is someone who is not built for this world—like an oracle or a prophet who knows too much, and nobody listens. Like, you know that podcast S-Town? Kind of like that guy [John McLemore]. I mean, it's not about him, but it uses that sad and beautiful archetype.”

almanac
“Again, this song is about the water, and the human body as a mountain in the water, safe from the danger. This one is a straight-up love song, with a little bit of darkness, as I feel true love always contains. It was the first song we wrote where I was like, 'Oh, this is what the record should sound like. I want this feeling all over it.' It’s the ocean song.”

stardew
“This song is definitely like a sex jam—which, in a straightforward way, is really uncommon for us—but looking at the lyrics later, I realize it's weirdly about being born. Before we even started thinking about the order of tracks, we knew we wanted to have 'stardew' last. It was one of the first songs we wrote for the record. Corin showed me the beat, everything came together very quickly, and we were both like, 'Okay—this will probably be a single.' But after we wrote a few more, it sort of became an outlier. I think it still fits with all the other songs, but it's so much brighter and happier and fuller. That was one of the reasons we decided to put it last—it wouldn't go anywhere else!”

SONG
rubyinsides
1
3:33
 
pink lightning
2
4:14
 
peacefall
3
4:16
 
i like the devil
4
2:55
 
femia
5
3:07
 
sinew
6
3:11
 
vehemence
7
3:47
 
silkspun
8
3:35
 
almanac
9
3:13
 
stardew
10
4:06
 

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