Title - 'Pray For Rain'
Artist - Pure Bathing Culture
For those not in the know, Pure Bathing Culture - a name I've always liked ever since I first heard it for the band - are indie pop duo Daniel Hindman and Sarah Versprille of Portland, Oregon. Formed in 2011, and both formerly in the band Vetiver. the duo plays music in a very, well, "lo-fi" kind of manner.
Versprille (vocals, keyboards) and Hindman (guitars, bass, and keys) first met at college in New Jersey in the late '90s, ended up dating a decade later, and then joined the aforementioned indie folk band Vetiver thereafter. Indeed, funnily enough, they actually formed their own band almost by accident while fooling around with loops, before getting serious, moving to Portland (from Brooklyn), and releasing a self-titled four-song EP for Father-Daughter Records in 2012.
Back then, part of the reason for the move was to work with producer Richard Swift, and their first album, 2013's Moon Tides, was recorded over ten days at Swift's National Freedom studio and released by Partisan Records. Two years on and their brand new album, Pray For Rain is now upon us - out via Partisan Records, once again, and is yet another beautiful, stunningly orchestrated 10 track escape from today's at-times realities.
The album begins with the gentle guitar pop sway beats of 'The Tower,' which is followed by the anthemic title track itself, 'Pray For Rain,' but, oh my goodness, it's the next track, 'Palest Pearl' that becomes (for my money, at least), the cherry on the musical cake here! Flirting with old school Depeche Mode 80's synth work and extended vocal work from Versprille, the question posed of "how far would you be willing to go, and what would you be willing to lose, in order to achieve your wildest dreams?" is pure lyrical genius.
Indeed, that very same song was actually inspired by the early 20th-century poet Hilda Doolittle's ("H.D.") work “The Walls Do Not Fall,” from her collection Trilogy. Ergo, Versprille's vocals combined with the inspiring written words of H.D. now give a certain, majestic duality to the song that some might well have missed beforehand. So much so that it's hard not to keep this song, let alone the whole album, on repeat!
Versprille's thoughts on H.D., Pluto and why exploration is part of being human are widely known, and seem to come to the fore here on this new album. For, this incredibly delightful, apologetically lovely sophomore release then continues onward with both the faster-paced 'Clover' and the mid-tempo 'Darling, Save Us,' before heading into the slower pondering of 'Singer.'
Never a band for creating pop clichés, never at ease simply playing into the style of other bands, following tracks such as 'She Shakes,' the building masterpiece, 'Maximilian's Ring' and the gentle fun pop of 'I Trace Your Symbol' all have their own subculture. The overall synth-pop fun continues onward, bringing the album to a close with the enigmatic, eclectic 'In The Night, In The Peaceful Night,' which may actually sound like a poem by Bob Gormley, but is actually yet another highly recommended work of musical and lyrical art from, quite possibly, the greatest band of this decade that you've never heard of yet, Pure Bathing Culture.
10/01/15 - Toronto, ON - The Drake *
10/02/15 - Montreal, QC - Bar Le Ritz *
10/03/15 - Boston, MA - Middle East Upstairs *
10/04/15 - Brooklyn, NY - Baby's All Right *
10/06/15 - Philadelphia, PA - Boot & Saddle *
10/07/15 - Washington, DC - DC9 *
10/08/15 - Carborro, NC - Cat's Cradle Back Room *
10/09/15 - Atlanta, GA - Drunken Unicorn *
10/10/15 - Asheville, NC - The Mothlight *
10/12/15 - St. Louis, MO - The Demo *
10/13/15 - Kansas City, MO - Record Bar *
10/29/15 - San Francisco, CA - The Chapel
11/01/15 - Santa Barbara, CA - SOhO Restaurant and Music Club *
11/02/15 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo
11/04/15 - Phoenix, AZ - Crescent Ballroom *
11/07/15 - Dallas, TX - Three Links *
11/08/15 - Norman, OK - The Opolis *
11/09/15 - Omaha, NE - Reverb Lounge *
11/11/15 - Denver, CO - Hi-Dive *
11/12/15 - Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court *
11/13/15 - Boise, ID - Neurolux *
* = w/ Wild Ones