Have it really been another three years? THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART belong to the sort of band you’d like to welcome back from time to time. It always feels a bit like the warm welcome of an old friend. Not one of the weird ones but rather one of the nice ones you always enjoy. The reason is simple – ever since the band around mastermind Kip Berman showed up in the 00s they proved to be experts for tender and extremely catchy melodies. The ones that will instantly grab your attention and stick in your ear canals. Nothing really changed on the band’s third album Days Of Abandon. And that’s not really a bad thing.
As always Berman lined up a few new people around himself. But still THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART sound as sweet as they did on 2011’s Belong. Maybe a bit purer, but still quite focussed and even fancier this time. Days Of Abandon is still packed with anthem-like new wave pop songs and an undeniable love for shoegazing guitars. Don’t let the tender acoustic opening Art Smock fool you – it clearly marks an exception. The single Simple and Sure already sees the band back in their usual environment. Uplifting and exhilarating but always with a certain note of melancholia. It’s the formula Berman and his fellow musicians stick to on the course of the ten tracks on their new album.
Jen Goma (from the band A SUNNY DAY IN GLASGOW) brings a fitting female aspect to songs like Kelly or Life After Life. From gentle midtempo ballads (Beautiful You) to euphoric anthems (Eurydice) – THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART know how to catch the attention of their audience. Like on the previous records they sound like a mixture between THE SMITHS, THE SMASHING PUMPKINS and various early 90s shoegaze and noise pop bands. But still Berman and his band don’t want to offend anyone. THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART are not really rough around the edges – they make sweet, gentle and also radio-friendly indie pop. But ironically this music still doesn’t apply to a bigger mainstream audience. It might not have to, that much is for sure.
On Days Of Abandon THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART once more discover the bittersweet side of new wave pop by providing cute but also meaningful songs. It’s about big feelings and simple pleasures. It might not be revolutionary or innovative. It actually doesn’t has to be. Why shouldn’t it? That’s the good thing when an old friend visits you. It’s a deep sympathy and feeling of understanding without overanalyzing it. That’s what this band is about. And Days Of Abandon is a testament of that ability.
Once more THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART provide bittersweet wave pop on their third LP ‘Days Of Abandom’ – a well-known formula that doesn’t need big changes as it works perfectly for itself.
NBHAP Rating: 3,5/5
THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART