Portland band Pure Bathing Culture is virtually synonymous with glowing and bittersweet romantic songs. This year, they’ve released a full cover version of a record by kindred spirits The Blue Nile, “Hats.” The 1989 album and its late-night musing on love, “Downtown Lights” has inspired cover versions before, by the likes of Annie Lennox and Rod Stewart. Pure Bathing Culture has now covered the entire album for a vinyl release through subscription service Turntable Kitchen.
Pure Bathing Culture’s Sarah Versprille and Daniel Hindman were first introduced to the music of The Blue Nile by the late, famed Oregon producer Richard Swift. Versprille says she and Hindman found themselves fellow travelers with the 30-year-old record’s romantic, bittersweet sound.
“We moved to Portland in January 2011 and shortly after we borrowed a car to drive to Richard Swift’s studio in Cottage Grove to record the first ‘Pure Bathing Culture’ songs. Richard [had] a way of knowing things without knowing them, and one morning before starting the session he asked us if we had ever heard ‘The Blue Nile’ and played us a few tracks. We became immediately obsessed with their world of nostalgia and longing, and the way the songs were simultaneously extremely sad at times but also intensely romantic and modern. It made us feel like the music we wanted to make was validated in some way by the fact that their music had already existed in the universe.”
Pure Bathing Culture released their debut EP, recorded by Swift, in 2012. They’ve since released two full-length LPs: “Moon Tides” and “Pray for Rain,” with a lush, melodic sound sometimes compared to Fleetwood Mac.
Pure Bathing Culture plays a release concert in Portland at Doug Fir Lounge Saturday, Aug. 25.