Cut of the Day: "Pendulum," Pure Bathing Culture

If I told you the new single from Pure Bathing Culture was dreamy and heart-swelling, would you really be surprised? Probably not. And that's what makes "Pendulum," the first song released from the duo's full-length debut, Moon Tides, a perfect choice to introduce the group to a national audience. Last we heard from the band before they entered Richard Swift's Cottage Grove studio, they were covering Fleetwood Mac, and the song sounds a bit like Stevie Nicks fronting an '80s version of Beach House. Over moonlit synths and Daniel Hindman's glistening guitars, singer Sarah Versprille's voice opens up to a big, cloud-clearing swoon on the chorus, and the effect is wondrous.

Moon Tides comes out Aug. 20 on Partisan Records. We emailed Hindman and Versprille a few brief questions about "Pendulum" and their upcoming, heavily anticipated debut.  

Willamette Week: Tell me how you chose "Pendulum" at the leadoff single.

Pure Bathing Culture: "Pendulum" wasn't our first choice for the lead off single. But we were convinced by both of our labels that it was the best choice for the purpose.

Tell me how "Pendulum" fits in—sonically and thematically—with the rest of Moon Tides.

Sonically it has many traits in common with the rest of the record.  Thematically it is probably one of the darkest songs on the record.  

Tell me a bit about the pendulum imagery. Why did you choose that as a symbol to base this song around?  

It has something to do with the idea of a pendulum swinging infinitely and how that might mirror a person's behavior.

Why Moon Tides as an album title?

We are deeply inspired by the relationship between the moon and the tides. Particularly in the sense that the tides and the ocean are comprised of water and the element water is often associated with human emotion. The moon in this case to us represents the subconscious intuitive mind and perhaps even the world of dreams and mystery. We're really turned on by the fact that there's such a strong, in depth scientific relationship between the two and also a whole world of interpretive symbolism.

Tell me about recording in Cottage Grove. How did the setting influence the album's sound?

There's something strange and surreal about Cottage Grove.  It's the only place we've ever recorded with Pure Bathing Culture.

Tell me about working with Richard Swift. How has he shaped the sound of Pure Bathing Culture?

Amidst all of Richard's talents that he brought to the record, what is probably the most significant to us looking back on the process is that, from very early on, Richard was the person telling us that what we were hearing and wanting to do musically—which at times could feel a little strange or embarrassing to us—was OK and valid and that we should do it. It might sound simplistic, but it was incredibly important and empowering for us through the process, and I think it's an indication of how magical his intuition is. 

SEE IT: Pure Bathing Culture plays Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell St., with Father John Misty, on Saturday, May 25. 8 pm. $15 advance, $17 day of show. 21+.

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