Pure Bathing Culture’s debut full-length is comprised predominately of first takes. There’s hardly a fresh-faced young upstart that hasn’t been forced to economize in the studio, but what’s notable here is that despite their logistical limitations, nothing about Moon Tides feels rushed. The Portland, Oregon-based duo has managed to deliver nine lo-fi pop gems, all which float with the ease of a sun-drunk summer day.
More than mere musical daydreamers, Pure Bathing Culture are masters in the art of understatement. Vocalist Sarah Versprille sings as though cloud watching. She glides through “Pendulum,” transforming occult-referencing lyrics into a pleasant haze intermixed with a wash of drum machines and acoustic guitars. “Scotty” interjects a subtle last-call groove to the band’s minimal palette, while Versprille is given room to play a convincing coquette, her voice looped into a 1980s-style backing-choir. “Temples of the Moon” is by far the album’s darkest track, the band trading their synth-driven bounce for a haunting meditation backed only by a guitar and drone. An impressive introduction, Moon Tides proves that even when stripped to the bare bones, Pure Bathing Culture still manage to glow.