Whether or not they were really doing anything, Canadian electronic duo Megan James and Corin Roddick have solved the problem of live dance music looking boring on stage. Producer Roddick manipulated a row of shapes on poles that lit up when he hammered them. James, looking ready for space travel in a tight white outfit with pointy shoulders and a bizarre cycle helmet of hair, seemed to be playing music with beams of light, sending them in different directions as she hovered over them with mirrored gloves. On either side, a dangling forest of rope lights pulsed and flickered like a beautiful deep sea creature.
It was hard to tell whether they really had invented some incredible new instruments, or more simply were triggering lights in time to backing tracks. Either way the spectacle suited the sound they have dubbed “future pop” – two albums of glistening synths and beats topped by James’s alien voice, a sweet tone turned metallic. Songs such as Bodyache and Fineshrine were cute and melodic, with enough restless weirdness in the production to keep them separate from Miley, Kylie and all.
However, the songs weren’t so strange that chart music won’t catch up to them soon enough. The awkward beats of Stranger Than Earth lurched towards the kind of giant EDM synths that currently fill arenas all over the world.
James was a pretty cold performer, slow to move and speak, who appeared briefly human when she grabbed her phone to take a crowd photo and apologised that her band doesn’t believe in encores. Like another planet, Purity Ring’s soundworld was worth exploring but mostly absent of life.