“Purification Ritual” is the latest in a string of singles by Steve Benjamins since the release of his EP Sightlines in 2015. While his past work has been dominated by an electro-pop soundscape, “Purification Ritual” is a folkier song with minimal electronic touches, leaving more room for Benjamins to ruminate.
The video for “Purification Ritual”, directed by Bert Mckinley, is simple but incredibly moving. In it we watch a masked man struggle to pull a wagon across a field that is weighted down by an enormous boulder. The boulder breaks away slowly but never enough to provide relief for the wagon puller and so by song’s end, we watch as he collapses.
Benjamins had this to tell us about his new song:
I once met a man going through rehab for his 14th time. Despite that, he seemed earnest and upbeat about his recovery. I found that very moving. This song isn’t about him, but it is about what his story came to mean to me.
To me, his story came to symbolize a broader truth: how we can cycle between hope and despair. How we pledge ourselves to do better but then fall down. How one day we feel strong and then very weak on another day. How a decade of happiness can unravel in a year of despair. It’s not necessarily manic— it’s just human. It’s the way of hearts. And isn’t it very beautiful for someone to get back up after being knocked down? To ask for help? To attempt renewal? To persevere in spite of evidence to the contrary?