The Pains of Being Pure at Heart: Belong (Slumberland) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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The Pains of Being Pure at Heart



Apr 13, 2011 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

We’ll spare you the lazy rock critic tendency to name drop and inventory all the influences at work on the new Pains of Being Pure at Heart record. It shouldn’t be that hard to work out on your own. If you consult the sleeve notes on Belong, you’ll see it was produced by the incomparable Flood (The Jesus and Mary Chain, Smashing Pumpkins, Depeche Mode) and mixed by Alan Moulder (My Bloody Valentine, Curve, Elastica). So, there’s that. Also, one could reference just about any of the band’s mopey-dopey press photos. Oh, then there’s the name of the band itself, perhaps the most obvious (and hilarious) aesthetic indicator. Point is, Pains of Being borrow—musically, visually, and blatantly—from a very long list of predecessors, but so does everybody else. The reason it matters less with Pains of Being is because they’re so self-assured and they don’t suck.

Belong marks a departure from the softer side of Pains of Being heard on their self-titled debut. Given the album’s production team, it’s no surprise that Belong is heavier on both distortion and the 1990s, which works fantastically well for a band so in love with the alt-rock of yesteryear. The album-opener (also the title track) leaps right out of the speakers with its wall of fuzzy, distorted guitars and quickly sets the stage for the equally urgent “Heavens Gonna Happen Now,” and that’s followed by the album’s first single “Heart In Your Heartbreak,” all three as sturdy, peppy, and loveable as we’ve come to expect. And even though such lyrics as “Tell me again what the body’s for/If I can’t feel it anymore/I want to hurt like it did before,” seem preposterously over the top (and they are), you get the sense that The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are only kind of serious and it’s this half-seriousness that makes the band’s brand of wounded-bastard-twee-pop so very irresistible. (

Author rating: 6/10

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April 17th 2011

Great second album! Read my full review of ‘Belong’ here: