If you’re the type of person who likes late night drives to nowhere in particular, the smooth consolance of soft vocals and sweet beats throughout your cram sessions, or impressing your mainstream-brainwashed friends with “real music”, then Pure Bathing Culture’s new album Pray For Rain was made just for you.
Pure Bathing Culture is an American indie pop band from Portland Oregon and they released their second full length album, Pray For Rain this October. This album, similar to their debut album, seems to just float through the air with their gentle soundscape and dreamy vocals.
The interesting thing about this album is that, although the music is full of chirping synths and bright melodies, lyrically it is cold and distant. This juxtaposition is not anything new to indie pop music, but Pure Bathing Culture’s Sarah Versprille and Daniel Hindman are able to make this approach their own.
They achieve their unique sound partly due to the hazy, echoing vocals that characterize the gloomy lyrics. This is seen in the very first track “The Tower,” where musically there is a snappy upbeat tempo you might hear in the background at a beachfront bar, but the lyrics are about the disappearance of the Malaysia Airline flight 370.
This album is distinct from their previous releases because, overall, it seems much more thought out and polished than Moon Tides was or even their first EP.
Pure Bathing Culture is one of those bands that can be characterized as anything from lo-fi R&B to 80s yacht rock. Many critics liken Pure Bathing Culture’s sound to Fleetwood Mac, The Cure and The Smiths but, ultimately, their musical ingenuity and soft spoken but powerful lyrics let them stand out to listeners everywhere.
Weird overlapping genres aside, Pure Bathing Culture seems to have borrowed only the best elements of 80s disco for this album, distinctly in the combination of groovy bass lines and simple drum beats. This effect is seen most prominently in the tracks “Pray For Rain,” “I Trace Your Symbol” and “She Shakes.” Coincidentally, these tracks are the ones that stand out the most on this album.
One downfall of this record feeling so polished and complete in comparison to Moon Tides, is that the tracks tend to blend together. The songs are distinct but only in very small ways. This makes the record flow well as a whole, but feel monotonous in places.
If you want to experience this album the right way, listen to it all the way through two separate times. First, focus on the mellow disco, hazy but bright vocals, and the sweet, simple bounce of the music. Then focus on the lyrics, their images and their existential implications in relation to your imminent move towards oblivion. After that, you will have undergone a unique sort of indie dream pop spiritual experience that you can only get from Pure Bathing Culture’s album Pray For Rain.