Pure Bathing Culture, aka Portland based Sarah Versprille and Dan Hindman, return with new album Pray for Rain, due 23rd October on Memphis Industries (Partisan in North America). The title track and new single “Pray for Rain” premiered on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 show. The album was recorded with St Vincent’s right hand man, John Congleton at his studio in Dallas, Texas, all analogue gear with no studio trickery. It’s a quantum leap forward from their critically-lauded debut record Moon Tides.
You can hear it on the classic pop of “Pray for Rain,” in Dan’s clean yet serpentine guitar lines interacting with the live rhythm section (featuring Zach Tillman, brother of Josh, and Brian Wright) Versprille’s lucid vocals cutting through it all as she asks: “Is it pleasure? Is it pain? Did you pray for rain?”
Of working with John Congleton Dan says he “pushed us to not make clichés, to not play into the style of other bands.” The challenges came right away as Congleton pressed the group into unfamiliar and at times uncomfortable territory in the studio. “He tricked me with the guitars on the album,” Dan said. “We got the basic tracks down and he asked me to do scratch guitar and then John wouldn’t let me go back and do the guitars again. He refused to do any layering.”
As a result, everything on Pray for Rain is pretty much as Pure Bathing Culture actually sounds, no plug-ins or effects added afterwards, no hiding behind multiple layers. “There aren’t a lot of tricks; What you hear is naturally what’s there,” says Dan.
It was a taxing yet ultimately rewarding experience when the album was completed. “It was shocking to hear what the finished product was,” Sarah said. “It was like being in a vortex and then we came out with this record.” She adds with a laugh something John Congleton told her when all was said and done: “You were very brave.”
Sarah summarizes the Pray for Rain experience as one of “stepping into the realm of discovering who we are as a band and as songwriters,” echoing a theme of the album itself, the process of change and transition. “You can find the best version of yourself in those hardest moments,” she said. To which Dan adds: “You have to be backed up against the wall in order to really feel those feelings and respond to them.”
Pray For Rain
Darling, Save Us
I Trace Your Symbol
In The Night, In The Peaceful Night