There have been a couple of ghosts haunting me since February. Sisters, actually, by the names of Valentine and Clementine Adams—also known as Purple Pilgrims. They frequently make other-worldly contact with me to remind me how horrifically overlooked their album Eternal Delight has been this year, and if I don’t review it, I will be forever plagued by guilt and end up quivering in a puddle of my own filth inside of a tinfoil-lined mobile home while only reviewing Lana Del Rey albums over and over. So to avoid this plausible reality, I am going to share with the world this séance of an album that has been slowly possessing me for the better part of this year.
Let me explain the spell that Eternal Delight binds its listeners with.
I’d say imagine if True Love Kills the Fairytale-era Casket Girls was even more stripped down and drank 3x the amount of cough syrup, or if the ghosts that dwell on the first couple of Beach House records weren’t as fragile. There is also a small blurps of Goblin and Zombi -eque synths that are hidden under the harmonies, making occasional appearances throughout the album.
At times you can almost visualize the blown out colors and psychedelia of an Italian horror film.
Aside from these comparisons, these Purple Pilgrims are cunning and masterful entities, and the hexes they cast are from seasoned earth witches; ones that are profoundly intertwined with nature, have crystals for all occasions and can communicate with the unseen.
The instrumentation is primarily soothing, with nimble, sinuous synths, electronics, guitars and light percussion, all accompanied by the hypnotic and alluring vocals of the two sisters that seem to vacillate between different dimensions and layers of time.
This entirety of Eternal Delight is some of the best music I have heard in a long time.
Here is a run through of some of my favorite tracks: the playful yet troubling incantation, “Forever”; the haunting “Is You Real,” which sounds like some magic ritual used to raise an ancient god; the transcendental and dreamlike state of “Fake Friend (Pythia),” about as comforting as it is unsettling (so I’m unsure where that psychologically places you); and finally, “Thru Evry Cell,” the equivalent to those times in the summer when it is raining, but the sun is still out. It also reminds me of the ending credits to Pee Wee’s Playhouse when he blasts out of the Playhouse on his motorized scooter, which always made me a little sad.
Eternal Delight is a brilliant juxtaposition of emotions and feelings that aren’t often felt simultaneously, so you get an almost dynamic experience when listening to it; am I supposed to be lulled into it’s ethereal beauty or chilled by it’s spectral undertones?
Purple Pilgrims will most definitely have a spot on my top 10 at the end of the year (if not number one).
It is music that you don’t even know you’re craving. Similar to my experience with Lana Del Rey’s Honeymoon or a really good Giallo movie, this album grew on me, and when it completed the final phase of its supernatural parasitism, we entered a healthy and fully functional symbiotic relationship, ectoplasm and all. Please get yourself a copy of this ASAP!!!!
Rating: 6 out of 6 Doves Prince loved Eternal Delight so much, that he missed his name being called for his 11th Grammy of the night because he was playing it over and over again in his head. The doves knew to stay out of his way when he got back home. Scariest game of hide and seek at the Prince Mansion ever.
Interview with Purple Pilgrims
What is a Purple Pilgrim, and what are the origins of the band?
Just a name really.. I think in the past (mostly in the US!) people have taken it literally, envisioning Thanksgiving and violet coloured bonnets.. Which is fine, but not our meaning at all! Pilgrim literally means traveler, and purple is just a really lovely, expansive colour to us. We had our first show booked before we had a name (or even songs for that matter!) so there was a gig poster that needed text on it! We played our first show at HSP gallery in our hometown of Christchurch, NZ (the perfect spot as we spent all our time being involved with shows there already) and things stuck from there.
What are the themes on Eternal Delight, and where do you draw your influences? What are the lyrics about?
To record Eternal Delight we found ourselves in this really rural setting and wanted to try and articulate that environment, which was obviously really earthy, through electronic sounds, which are traditionally quite the opposite. We really liked the idea of a kind of ‘synthesized nature’ – attempting to create something really natural sounding through the most synthetic of materials. That’s really the overall theme of the album, ‘synthesized nature’, ‘ancient futurism’, the beauty in contrast.
Lyrically our influences are drawn from the super romantic to the very mundane. Some personal experiences, but mostly observations of others – things we’ve read, or seen on TV (not very high-brow!). We’ve always been interested in mythology and folklore, there’s so much to draw from and re-interpret from that kind of thing.
We like to think our songs possess some positive energy – I guess we try to promote love more than anything else, there’s enough hate in the world already – every little bit helps!
What have you both been listening to lately? Any recommendations?
We re-discovered The Smiths as of recently, we’d recommend you re-discover them too!
The video of you guys performing “Thru Evry Cell” on Radio NZ Music is mesmerizing; the location looks so peaceful, and watching you weave together such a beautiful song practically out of thin air is truly magical. Please tell us more about this location and how the music scene is in New Zealand.
Thank you! That video was recorded in our garden-shed / studio (where we recorded our album) in Coromandel, NZ – a place named Tapu which means sacred in Maori. It is very peaceful, too peaceful at times! There isn’t much of a music scene out here! But we’re only a couple hours any from Auckland where we can get our civilization fix!
On the topic of music videos, with the video for “Forever”, there could not be a better visual interpretation of where the listener’s mind goes when enjoying Eternal Delight. Who made the video, and do you agree? It is a perfect pairing of audio and visual sensation.
We recorded the video for “Forever” ourselves (again in our garden) with the simplest concept and construction – a day/evening spent with an iPhone and a bottle of wine!
We wanted to simply convey the feeling of the song which to us is drunken elation that verges on obsession – we think the intimacy and kinda insular narcissism connected with smart-phones illustrates that and the lyrics quite well!
Have you done any touring recently? Any good stories? What are your future touring plans?
We’ve been playing shows in New Zealand a little – recently though we’ve been really enjoying hibernating/ staying in one spot for a while, it’s a total novelty for us (having been on the move most of our lives) and we’re relishing the opportunity to finally get some recording done.
We have plenty of good tour stories.. most take place on a tour we did with Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, never a dull moment! But then I think every band that’s gone on tour has good stories – it’s an environment that breeds weird situations, that’s the reason why it’s so much fun!
We’re excited to tour again soon, waiting for the right opportunity to drag us away. Our next show is at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, very excited to play there!
What is on the cards for Purple Pilgrims? Are you working on new stuff? Any other projects you are working on?
Right now we’re working on a new record! We just want to keep learning, and hopefully we’ll be playing music and exploring new places again soon!