Articles tagged with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – “Simple and Sure”

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Hmm. This isn’t what I expected from the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and the jury’s still out as to whether that’s a good thing or not. The new single is called “Simple and Sure,” and its pristinely slick sound is a departure from the group’s fuzzy past work. Is anyone else hearing a little bit of “Free Fallin’” in these chords?

This song will appear on the album Days of Abandon, which will be out on April 22. After this, I’m cautiously excited.

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You never even felt the floor

Pre-vomit by three seconds
Okay, to make up for that stupid Killers song I posted yesterday, here’s one of the best songs of the year so far (yes, another). It’s by the Pains of Being Pure at Heart and it’s the title track from the newly-released Belong. This is what happens when a dream pop band hooks up with the same producers and mixers responsible for Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

It begins with a pretty, jangling groove, but this turns out to be a bluff, as it explodes with speaker-melting fuzz just a few seconds later. Luckily, the alt. rock turn doesn’t interfere with the group’s tunefulness, and the chorus is pure bliss.

This might be even better than the last song I posted from Belong.

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Like a cold California sky

Losing the vegan market
I’ve had the Pains of Being Pure at Heart‘s new album, Belong, on steady rotation lately. This is partly because I’m digging the tunes, and partly because I’m still trying to figure out if I really like it, or if I’m just predisposed to like it because I loved the band’s debut so much.

I’m definitely not still making my mind up about the single, “Heart in Your Heartbreak.” This one’s an instant winner, beginning with a bass-heavy jangle pop groove before the cinematic synths take over in the final moments. It’s love at first listen.

A while back I interviewed singer Kip Berman for BeatRoute. I also wrote something about the band for The Tyee. And there was that Exclaim! review that I already mentioned. I reviewed Belong for Color Magazine, but the article isn’t out yet.

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2009′s most consistent rock band

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Higher than the Stars
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart‘s self-titled debut, released in February, is one of the year’s best albums by virtue of its consistency. Any one of its ten songs would have made a strong single, mixing lo-fi guitar grit with soft, whispered vocals and sugary pop melodies.

Now, seven months later, the Brooklyn quartet is releasing a follow-up EP that is equally stunning. Unlike the album, Higher than the Stars has a clear standout track that singlehandedly makes the collection required listening. The title track is a shimmering pop masterpiece, with bright, jangling guitars and dreamy keyboards melodies. The lyrics are somewhat ambiguous, but appear to describe a failed high school romance, with repeated references to “the back of her mother’s car.” It’s a gorgeous teen anthem that would have worked perfectly as the theme song to a John Hughes movie.

“Higher than the Stars” may be the best track, but this isn’t to suggest that the other three songs are weak. “Falling Over” is a soft-hitting acoustic strummer with Morrissey-style vocals and glitzy keyboard leads. “103″ and “Twins” are both fuzzed-out dream pop, striking a perfect balance between noisy abrasion and bubblegum bliss.

Tacked onto the end of the CD version is a remix of “Higher than the Stars” by British electropop trio Saint Etienne. It sounds a lot more like Saint Etienne than it does the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and the dark, percussion heavy arrangement doesn’t quite capture the widescreen beauty of the original track. But despite this underwhelming finale, Higher than the Stars recaptures the pop perfection of the group’s debut and suggests than we’ll be hearing plenty more great things from the Pains in the coming years.
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The Pains of Being Pure at Heart @ the Biltmore Cabaret, 7/24/09

pains of being pure at heart
Five minutes before the Pains of Being Pure at Heart were due to go on stage, I walked past the merch table and saw singer Kip Berman passed out cold on the couch. I guess that might explain why the Brooklyn four-piece got off to a slightly slow start during last night’s show at the Biltmore. Opening with a new song (I had never heard it before, at least) the group was a little sloppy, Berman’s eyes staring blanky across the crowd. Next, they stumbled through “This Love Is Fucking Right!,” its chorus marred by off-key vocal harmonies.

Thankfully, the band found its legs with a searing version of the single “Young Adult Friction.” Unlike the sunny jangle of the studio version, the song was a blast of white hot distortion, its guitars soaked in shoegaze fuzz. The group had a second guitarist in tow, meaning that the band’s sound was even more muscular than usual. An amped-up take on “The Tenure Itch” incited a mosh pit near the front of the stage, and one fan attempted to crowd surf but wiped out badly.

The band debuted a new song, “Higher Than the Stars,” the title track of its upcoming EP. With dreamy synth pads and a blissful pop chorus, the song sounded a bit like a long lost anthem from an ’80s teen movie.

Unfortunately, drummer Kurt Feldman broke his snare drum, and since no one had a replacement, the set was cut short. During the final song, “A Teenager in Love,” the snare sounded like Feldman was hitting a torn piece of a loose leaf paper. Nevertheless, the group still managed to play most of its self-titled album, plus a handful of B-sides. The show was unlikely to convert any skeptics, but for fans of the album, it was an excellent showcase of the band’s songwriting chops.

The evening was opened by Girls, a San Francisco four-piece that, like Women, is entirely made up of men. Still, it was easy to see where the group got its name, since both of the guitarists had long, flowing locks of blond hair. Most of the group’s songs sounded like ’50s doo wop played with the dreamy jangle of I.R.S.-era R.E.M. Girls sounded best when they stretched into more ambitious territory, as on the epic singalong “Hellhole Ratrace.” The group’s first full-length is due out in September, and, based on last night’s performance, it could be one of the breakthrough albums of the fall.
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A small victory

A few weeks ago, when I wrote about the Pains of Being Pure at Heart‘s new single, “Young Adult Friction,” I said “The tune has a hazy, nostalgic quality, so here’s hoping the band makes a sun-bleached Super-8 video to go along with it.” The video for “Young Adult Friction” was released today, and although it isn’t sun-bleached (since it takes place inside), it was shot with an old-school film camera, with washed out colours, missing frames, and plenty of weird flashed of light. So I’m going to claim a win on this one.

It’s a cool retro tune on an album full of cool retro tunes. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s sound is pure summer, with jangling guitars and warm, shoegaze harmonies—it keeps sounding better and better as the weather heats up, so I’m bound to keep raving about it for the next few months.

Check out the video here, courtesy of Pitchfork.

mp3: “Young Adult Friction”
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Toffee with your Vicodin

For all of the fuzzed-out guitar noise, there’s something delightfully twee about the Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Part of it is the band name, which has a wounded religiosity pulled straight from the Belle & Sebastian book of tricks (If You’re Feeling Sinister anyone?). And part of it is the track-listing to the group’s self-titled debut album, which contains schlocky puns (“The Tenure Itch”) and ’50s doo-wop send-ups (“A Teenager in Love”). But mostly, it’s the music itself that makes the New York four-piece so damn cute. Case in point: the new single “Young Adult Friction.” Unlike the fuzzy shoegaze of much of the band’s material, this song is pure Britpop jangle; with its dreamy reverb and sugary melodies, it could almost be “There She Goes” by the La’s. Like everything the group does, the tune has a hazy, nostalgic quality, so here’s hoping the band makes a sun-bleached Super 8 video to go along with it.

mp3: “Young Adult Friction”

“Young Adult Friction” will be released on 7″ on March 31 via Slumberland. It can also be found on the group’s self-titled album, which was released last month.
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