The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Record Label: Slumberland Records
Release Date: February 3, 2009
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are a jangle-pop/shoegaze hybrid from New York generating a literal and figurative buzz with this, their self-titled full-length debut.
How is it?
It's fantastic, an early contender for my favorite album of the year. If you're a fan of the chiming guitars and engaging melodies of the Smiths as well as the layers of fuzz laid down by My Bloody Valentine, I think you'll agree. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart resurrects these sounds of the 80's and 90's and breathes new life into them, in the process creating something that sounds fresh and new, or at the very least, not dated.
At ten tracks and a shade under thirty-five minutes, the album is short, but the lack of quantity is more than made up for by quality, as every track is a standout. Whether the band is in wistful shoegaze mode, as on "Contender," or exploring surf rock-inspired sounds on the lively "Come Saturday," their every trick is pulled off naturally, without a hitch. The record works so well from start-to-finish, primarily because it sounds like the work of a band who are sticking with their A-game, simple indie-pop ditties, and demonstrating mastery in performing them to near perfection. By avoiding pointless experimentation, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart have created a relentlessly entertaining and remarkably consistent album.
In addition to sounding incredibly tight musically, the band employ fittingly light and airy co-ed harmonies, which complement the band's sound perfectly, adding a Spring-like feel to the more upbeat songs like the single, "Everywhere With You," and a sense of longing to the ballads, as on the Chapterhouse-like "Stay Alive." Despite some of the slower moments, the mood here is hardly somber, as most of the record is buoyant and lends itself well to sing-alongs.
The end result is simply the best sounding record I've heard in some time. Everything - the dream-pop vocals, ringing guitar sounds and fuzzy production - meshes exceptionally well together, thanks to the tremendous mixing job of Archie Moore, formerly of Velocity Girl. I have an affinity for albums that manage to sound unique and distinctive without being abstruse, and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart definitely meets the criteria. It's a very pleasant surprise, and one of the best records released in the early part of '09.
Check out the Pains of Being Pure at Heart on Myspace.
I love this album. I'd say it's more twee like the Field Mice than it is shoegaze, due to the number of references such as "This Love Is Fucking Right!" being a tip of the hat to "This Love Is Not Wrong." You can definitely hear the My Bloody Valentine influence from their "Ecstasy & Wine" period though.