Purple Pilgrims

Eternal Delight

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At first, noise seemed like a vital part of Purple Pilgrims' music. The dense clouds of static and distortion that surrounded Clementine and Valentine Adams' wispy vocals and melodies -- which borrowed as much from folk as they did dream pop -- made them all the more tantalizing. With each release, however, the Adams sisters lifted a little bit of the fog from their songs, and their debut album sounds pristine compared to their early singles. On Eternal Delight, Purple Pilgrims give their music more shape, and more details, in ways that feel like a natural evolution. "Forever" is a bona fide pop song, albeit one that moves in slow motion and dresses its hooks in satiny synths and sighing vocals. Later, the gorgeous "Thru Every Cell" makes the most of the duo's newly layered sound, with subtle percussion adding crispness to the melody's aurora-like glow. Even if Purple Pilgrims are coming through more clearly, the ghostly otherness of their music remains; "Penglai" could easily be a seance set to music. Where their previous releases evoked field recordings (a trait that runs in the family -- the Adams sisters' great-grandfather was recorded by none other than Alan Lomax), Eternal Delight somehow sounds even more otherworldly because of its cleaner production. Though the sisters lived in Hong Kong at the time, they returned to a family cabin on New Zealand's Coromandel Peninsula to record the album, and they captured the best of their old and new homes in these mysterious songs. The combination of Eternal Delight's sleek instrumentation and ancient-sounding melodies is half sci-fi, half fairytale and completely fascinating, particularly on "False Friend (Pythia)" and "Perpetual Prelude," where the slightly sour interplay between the guitars and synths creates a mood that's equally witchy and bewitching. Songs such as this and "Is You Real?" prove that Purple Pilgrims haven't lost any of their spellcasting powers by refining their approach on Eternal Delight -- they've only become more alluring and haunting.

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