Menu | Rating System | Guest Book | Archived Reviews:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

  The Pains of Being Pure at Heart  
  The Pains of Being Pure at Heart  
  Slumberland Records  
Release Date:


Reviewed by:

I love The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and i hate The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. They make insanely catchy pop tunes with a nice layer of distortion, yet they come dangerously close to being "too cute". I guess they are a twee band, and twee as a genre has always had the danger of becoming annoying, or so it seems to me.

Well, here we have the debut full-length release from Brooklyn's The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. They are a four-piece, involving keyboards, toe-tapping rhythms, effected guitar, and male/female harmonies. It is a simple formula, a timeless formula.

Now, this is actually their second release. Based on some of the hype i read online last year, i picked up their debut EP, which was also self-titled. I was, shall i say, underwhelmed. The recording there was a little too raw. It sounds like they had a drum machine instead of a real drummer for half of the tracks, and that they had not yet figured out how to balance guitar fuzz and vocal clarity.

Well, they have figured it out this time around, and the result is a glorious, sunshiney record.

The record start off with Contender, a sweet melody in a mid-tempo song with wistful vocals. This really sets the stage for what is to come, as they take the listener through 35 minutes of similar songs.

There are some classic tunes here, including Young Adult Friction, the first single from this record. Here, lead vocalist Kip (the only use first names – how cutely twee!) sings in a very flat, light manner over soaring keys. They follow this up with the rocking This Love Is Fucking Right, a song whose lyrical them is best ignored (incest), but moves with a veritable haze of guitars and thundering drums. Up next is The Tenure Itch, which features guitars in crystalline chiming a la what The Ocean Blue used to do. And then there is the rocker Hey Paul, which is like This Love Is Fucking Right, except that the bass is riffing at breakneck speed and Kip (who also play guitar) does his best to channel Thurston Moore.

One final song to mention is A Teenager In Love, where the drums are a staccato beat, the keys sparkle, and Kip sings about Jesus. Songs about Jesus freak me out –- as an atheist i worry that the Jesus people will want to start the burnings again, so upon hearing the song i was very turned off by the record. And yet it is a perfect pop song, and so i couldn't stay away! On repeated listens, i have decided that they mean this whole "Jesus" thing tongue-in-cheek, the same way that Kip didn’t really boink his sister in This Love Is Fucking Right.

So, just so you know – if you are one of those people who listen to lyrics, they are a little troubling. I normally do not pay attention to lyrics, but after the Jesus line stood out to me, i made the effort. Let's just say that all is not as sunshiney in the world as it appears at first listen…

But overall, this is a thrilling record.

Related Links:

Label Website:
Artist MySpace:
Artist Website:
Also on EvilSponge:
   Concert: Sun.3.May.09


Return to the top of this page. | Return to the Album Review menu.