I’d read a lot of reviews for Portland, Oregon’s Pure Bathing Culture debut album “Moon Tides”. It wasn’t deliberate, purely co-incidental. I’d also been sent quite a few recommendation emails and the beautiful album cover tended to jump out at me in the glossy music magazines, almost demanding I read the accompanying review. My only concern … 99% of them seemed to mention 80’s synth pop, Fleetwood Mac similarities and plastic drum beats. Forgive me, but I was putting this off and favoring other reviews. However, as Captain Bertorelli from the 1980’s sitcom “Allo Allo” would have said “What a mistake-a to make-a”

I was hooked from the first listen. The vocals of Sarah Versprille are beautiful and work well with the instrumentation. Yes, there is an 80’s feel to some of the tracks but they don’t actually feel outdated. Completely the opposite in fact (well, maybe with the exception of “Scotty” which I thought was going to morph in “Superwoman” by Karen White … take a listen and you’ll see what I mean).  

“Evergreener” is a real showcase vocally and contains an extremely catchy chorus. Its understated use of a drum box keeps the track simple and adds a quite relaxed atmosphere to proceedings. The best track on the album though is “Seven 2 One”. Again, it has an almost horizontally relaxed feel to it but just seems to pull the entire album together.

“Temple of the Moon” is a beautiful way to finish the album. The use of Daniel Hindman’s haunting guitar and the quite mesmerizing vocals give you an indication that there is certainly something more to come from the couple. Considering that the rest of the album has a real ‘feel good’ factor it was certainly a brave decision to use this darker track as its finale. It works though, capping off an excellent debut.

“Moon Tides” is most certainly a leap forward from their self-titled 2012 EP. The songwriting is consistently strong and I certainly believe this album deserves the recognition it’s getting in the press.

The full track listing for “Moon Tides”is as follows…

  1. Pendulum
  2. Dream The Dare
  3. Evergreener
  4. Twins
  5. Only Lonely Lovers
  6. Scotty
  7. Seven 2 One
  8. Golden Girl
  9. Temples of the Moon

You can see Pure Bathing Culture at the following venues…

25th September 2013 – London, The Waiting Room
10th October 2013 – Visalia, CA – The Cellar Door
12th October 2013 – Tucson, AZ – Solar Culture
13th October 2013 – Albuquerque, NM – Low Spirits
14th October 2013 – Phoenix, AZ – Rhythm Room
15th October 2013 – San Diego, CA – The Void
16th October 2013 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echo
17th October 2013 – Santa Cruz, CA – The Crepe Place
18th October 2013 – San Francisco, CA – The Chapel
19th October 2013 – Davis, CA – Sophia’s Thai Kitchen
21st October 2013 – Eugene, OR – Cozmic Pizza
22nd October 2013 – Vancouver, BC – Media Club
24th October 2013 – Portland, OR – Bunk Bar
25th October 2013 – Boise, ID – Neurolux
26th October 2013 – Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
27th October 2013 – Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge
28th October 2013 – Omaha, NE – Slowdown
1st November 2013 – Ferndale, MI – The Loving Touch
3rd November 2013 – Montreal, QC – Il Motore
4th November 2013 – Winooski, VT – The Monkey House
5th November 2013 – Boston, MA – TT The Bear’s
6th November 2013 – New Haven, CT – BAR
8th November 2013 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom

Download: Evergreener, Seven 2 One and Temples of the Moon

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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