Saturday, January 14, 2012

Albums of 2011 # 8: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Belong

I know next to nothing about The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, other than the fact that they’re from Brooklyn, New York, and their 2011 album, Belong, is the band’s second album in as many outings to thoroughly impress me.

Well, I guess I mean “impress” as in an Eighties retro “I loved The Jesus And Mary Chain first time around” kinda way. Because just like the band’s 2009 self-titled debut, it is virtually impossible to listen to The Pains of Being Pure at Heart without being reminded of East Kilbride’s finest. And obviously, sepia-tinged images of a black leather swathed Velvet Underground loom rather large in the background as well.

But when the fuzzed out guitars give way to a crispy jangle, and the walls of feedback subside long enough to make some space for warm keyboard lines, I’m immediately transported to the electro power pop hooks of New Order during its hit-making late Eighties pomp (prime example – ‘The Body’, see video below).

Belong is certainly a lot more upbeat and generally much warmer than the band’s more gloomy debut effort; it feels like there’s more colour this time around, musically and lyrically there’s more variation, and all the signs are there that this young band is really starting to come into its own.

It’s a strong second album, if a little one dimensional at times, but one I listened to a lot during 2011’s deepest darkest winter months.

And besides, who really cares about how derivative a band might be when the influences shaping its sound are long time favourites of your own from way back? Hell, is it their fault they’ve got such immaculate taste?

Download: ‘Belong’, ‘Heart In Your Heartbreak’, ‘Even In Dreams’, and ‘My Terrible Friend’.

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