A horrible hack

the Pains of Being Pure at Heart


Year Released: 2009
Format: LP
Label: Slumberland - Fortuna Pop!
Reviewed by Andy Malcolm on Mar 2, 2009
Most of the time I am not really sure what music I want to listen to, until I kind of bump into it by accident. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are one of those bands, I can't really recall where I read about them, but the little description set my indie senses tingling. One quick investigation later and I was sold, these guys were exactly the kind of band I was looking for but I just didn't know it.

The LP is 10 simple tracks of irresistably and knowingly retro indie pop. Pretty much every aspect of the sound borrows from the past - the echoey drums, the jangly, airy guitar, the effortless production that lets all the elements mingle... it's all here. Layers of shoegazey fuzz are piled upon an uncannily great ability for penning a smart pop song - and that's why this scores so highly. Anyone can decide that they want to sound like their favourite band, but few can actually write a tune to match their inspiration. Amidst all that you have some fittingly wet, male vocals from Kip for the most part, although Peggy contributes a little too. Songs are a mixture of nippy pace and more melancholy slowness, which helps vary the album nicely. They also having the knack of making you think that each track will not quite live up to the previous one, yet they all do. This is a consistently fine LP, with no half arsed filler. The overall sound nestles somewhere between Rocketship and the Wedding Present, which should be more than enough of a pointer to give an idea as to which sound they are mining.

It might be possible to overdose on the sweetness of this LP in the long run, but for now this is a regular fixture on my turntable and I can't see that changing just yet. If you can see yourself sitting at home with the headphones on, listening to a band called The Pains of Being Pure at Heart paying a healthy homage to a scene that would get fairly short shrift by musical historians, then definitely pick this up. My favourite album of 2009 so far.
Recommended record by Collective Zine!

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