Do we need another male-female duo making eerie, hypnotic electronic-acoustic music? If the results sound like Pure Bathing Culture, the answer is unquestionably affirmative. Vocalist Sarah Versprille and multi-instrumentalist Daniel Hindman are former members of Vetiver who moved from New York to Portland, Ore., to follow their shared muse, collaborating with other acts along the way.
On their debut full-length, Versprille's vocals occasionally recall Julee Cruise's gauzy take on girl group styles on the soundtracks of David Lynch movies. Some listeners also may hear a little of the ethereality of vintage 4AD bands, particularly Cocteau Twins and the underrated Insides.
Moon Tides is spookily quiet and at times seems timeless, but it includes glances back at musical history. There's a vaguely Asian twist in "Ever Greener," similar in manner to that of some '80s new wave hits, while "Pendulum" and "Twins" are a lovely evocation of mid-'70s Fleetwood Mac, seen through the prism of contemporary shoegaze.
That addictive retro vibe—which is really just an embrace of rich melody bathed in drum machines, burbling synths and verging-on-luminous guitars—continues on "Scotty" and "Seven 2 One."
The band saves the best for last. Closing track "Temples of the Moon" is a filigreed charmer on which Versprille applies her angelic, floating soprano as if she were singing a hymn.