Pure Bathing Culture's music has a shimmering, near instantly infectious impact.
The Portland, Oregon indie pop outfit have a seemingly inexhaustible supply of stunning melodies, tunes that wrap their way around your sub-conscious and refuse to let go.
New album 'Pray For Rain' is out now, and it's an enticing return. Beneath the beautiful surface, though, some dark expanses lurk - Pure Bathing Culture aren't afraid to dealing with bigger, emotional topics.
Singer Sarah Versprille agreed to take part in Their Library, a place for artists to reveal the contents of their book shelf, the authors they admire and who they'd love to work with.
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What is your favourite book and why?
There are so many but if I have to pick one probably Riven Rock by TC Boyle. I read this book when I first moved to Brooklyn and was really broke and read a lot to pass the time, so I guess the place it holds in my life is a bit nostalgic for me... but I loved it because it’s a love story that unfolds almost like a mystery.
The main characters are a couple who meet and fall in love around the turn of the century and their lives are torn apart by various circumstances. They stay together, but it’s complicated and tragic. The female protagonist is a suffragist and becomes a really powerful force despite the challenges she faces. It’s psychological, heart wrenching and uplifting so pretty much hits all the right spots for me.
What other authors do you like?
Paul Auster, Raymond Chandler, Stephen King, John Cheever, D.H. Lawrence and lots of poets too: H.D., Louise Gluck, Kay Ryan, Denise Levertov, Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath, E.E. Cummings.
What draws you to certain books?
I am pretty much always excited about any mystery or love story.
Have you ever discovered a real lost classic? What is it and why?
Daniel told me he was really inspired by the character Howard Rourk as a teenager so I read The Fountain Head by Ayn Rand for the first time ever last year and absolutely loved it.
Do your literary influences have a direct impact on your songwriting?
Yes! I read a lot of poetry. The forms, word play and rhythms have had a direct influence on some of the lyrics we write. I was reading H.D. a lot early last year while we were finishing up writing the songs for 'Pray For Rain'. Our song 'Palest Pearl' is directly influenced by one of her poems from Walls Do Not Fall.
What are you reading at the moment?
The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster and M Train by Patti Smith.
What is the first book you remember reading as a child?
I remember reading Anne Of Green Gables with my Mom. She would read it to me every night before bed and we read all of the books together, I think there were eight of them. It was quite heart wrenching at times and sometimes my mom would have to hand the book over to me to read it aloud because she was crying too hard.
Did you make good use of your library card as a child / teenager?
Definitely! I loved the way the library smelled and I liked filling out the card with my name and the date when you checked the book out. I also liked seeing the other kids names who had checked the book out before me and also the dates they had the book. It was fun for me to think about them having that same book at some point in time before I had it... there was something really magical to me about that synchronicity.
Do you read book reviews?
No, but I like to read interviews with authors who’s books I enjoy.
Would you ever re-read the same book?
I read Siddhartha about four times in high school because reading it made me obsessed with maybe becoming a Buddhist.
Have you ever identified with a character in a book? Which one and why?
I’ve been identifying a bit with Daniel Quinn in City of Glass... not because I am going insane but because Paul Auster does such an amazing job of making it seem like losing your mind might not be that hard if the circumstances were just right and you turned right instead of left or picked up the phone instead of not picking up the phone.
Do you read one book at a time or more than one?
Sometimes more than one but only if it’s fun. Right now I’m reading Paul Auster and also Patti Smith’s new book, M Train. It’s been stimulating to switch between the two.
Is there an author / poet you would like to collaborate with?
I love the poet Kay Ryan and it would be amazing to collaborate with her! Her poetry has wonderful rhythms inside of it.
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'Pray For Rain' is out now - pick it up HERE.