The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart (2009), 6.5/10
Belong (2011), 5/10

New York-based Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, fronted by guitarist Kip Berman and keyboardist Peggy Wang, made strides with the album The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart (Slumberland, 2009). The catchy and abrasive program of Contender is carried out by the other songs over a narrow spectrum of variations, from the faster and quasi-punk Come Saturday to the noisier and quasi-shoegaze Stay Alive. The most gut-wrenching pop hook comes in The Tenure Itch, that displays all the elements of their sound: droning and quasi-dissonant keyboards, ringing guitars, loud drumming, garage verve and dreamy vocals.
The songs maintain a discreet level of simplicity but a few are far from obvious. The electric noise in Young Adult Friction evokes Suicide, blessed with an anthemic refrain that is whispered instead of being shouted and a steady stomping beat that is the antithesis of gravity. The jangling and lilting This Love Is Fucking Right straddles the border between the Byrds and Blondie.
The ending of the album is left to the songs that break the rules in the most visible manner. A Teenager in Love tries a more assertive tone but falls flat on its face. Hey Paul pushes faster and harder, indulging in a bacchanal that highlights their wild side. The pompous closer, Gentle Sons, drowns in a tide of psychedelic vocals and distortion. Despite the failure of these songs, this album established Pains Of Being Pure At Heart as one of the few bands that could still do something original with the one millionth pop song in the history of music.

The four songs of the EP Higher Than The Stars (Slumberland, 2009) increased the similarities with the romantic blissful bedroom-pop of the 1980s (Field Mice and the likes).

The single Heart In Your Heartbreak, Young Adult Friction and Everything with You redeemed the repetitive rest of Belong (Slumberland, 2011).

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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