Pure Bathing Culture might have brightened up their recordings on Pray for Rain, but they certainly haven’t lost sight of their almost hidden melancholy. Awash with pastel-toned pop songs that sound suited for sunshine filled days by a pool, Pray for Rain is shimmering and serene throughout. It’s Sarah Vesprille’s ethereal voice and lyrics however that pack the emotional punch, flowing like a tumultuous river as she tackles everything from Malaysian Airlines flight 370 (opener “The Tower”) to the existential fears of growing up (“Singer”).
It’s a bold juxtaposition that at its root is one of pop’s classic conundrums—deeply addictive, hummable melodies that disguise more emotionally weighty themes—but Pure Bathing Culture are naturals at it, weaving the two intricately together with their own flair. “Darling, Save Us” is one of the best examples—beautiful, whispery instrumentation from the other half of the band Daniel Hindman doesn’t lift Vesprille’s vocals out of the mix, but enhances them within it, creating a song that can be chewed like bubblegum just as much as it can be a calming, reflective early evening soundtrack.
“She Shakes”—the most immediate and addictive song on the record—is a quick-fix burst of golden Beach House-esque guitar lines and dreamy Real Estate desolation. It’s a testament to Pure Bathing Culture’s ability to harness classic pop songwriting and permeate it all with their intriguing worldly outlooks, yet at its core Pray for Rain is a charming, compelling indie-pop album that’s guaranteed to brighten up even the darkest winters.
Pray for Rain is out now via Partisan Records.