The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
In contrast with current reverb-wrapped indie-pop outfits, New York’s The Pains of Being Pure At Heart snuck out the back door with their dad’s Vaselines and Television Personalities records under their coats. Melding the sweet, off-kilter rhythms and tones of those bands with the fuller sound of other ‘80s greats, like My Bloody Valentine and the Jesus and Mary Chain, TPOBPAH remind us of the abundance of thrilling, new music found on college radio in the ‘80s. On “Young Adult Friction,” “This Love Is F*****g Right!” and “Gentle Sons,” Kip Berman’s tentative, genteel vocals reach for answers while tambourines and crisp snare drums keep things chirpy. Layers of dense guitars swirl beneath the pop melodies of “Come Saturday” and “Everything With You,” and a Smiths-ish melancholy permeates the acoustic strumming of “Stay Alive.” “A Teenager In Love” could have been on the Say Anything…” soundtrack. But forget the ‘80s. These delightfully lovestruck pop fans, who clearly carry some of the best indie influences close to their hearts, deserve to be heard in the context of 2009. With well-written songs built on a delicate balance of sweet/sour, him/her, and blissful pop/fuzzy dissonance, TBOBPAH nails it.