The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Genre: noise-pop, shoegazer
New York City, NY
Mar 4, 2009
Either they sound like all these
underappreciated obscure noisy bands, and that heralds a revival
movement so they're great, or they sound like clichéd touchstone My
Bloody Valentine, and that's derivative so they suck. I can't decide!
And who cares if they can write songs. What I do know is that like so
many other posturing rods, these guys feature one of the worst band
names imaginable. Not only does it combine the anti-virtues of being
unwieldy, stupid and flat-out uncomfortable to say, it's a complete
misnomer. Other than the song about the creepy lecherous professor,
and the opener, and maybe the one about the girl stuck with the
abusive... small town(?), these songs are pie-in-the-sky optimistic.
Maybe the point is that they're escapist fantasies that'll never come
true, except the professor. I doubt it.
Fortunately, beyond the title, this album
is pretty infectious. These guys identify as 'noise-pop,' which means
'pop with a ubiquitous layer of screeching distortion that they
occasionally turn off in the long ones for dramatic effect.' And
they're good at it. They sound very giddy. Their boy-girl vocal
layering is cute enough -- think Stars
-- to send most listeners into diabetic
shock. The juxtaposition of that cuteness against the screeching
distortion makes the album sound blissful and dreamy. It's headphones
Their subject matter is emotions at
potential points of inflection in relationships, which makes plenty of
sense. In these songs, their glass is half-full, and the possibilities
send them into wild fits of ecstasy. But for all their sweetness,
their secret weapon is Kurt Feldman's exuberant drumming, as low in
the mix as it is high in thunderosity and central to the band's
groove. It keeps them sounding giddy even in their wistful songs,
especially "Stay Alive."
This album's two endless repeaters are
its fastest and most unabashedly optimistic tracks
-- "Everything With You" and "Come Saturday." Those are
especially recommended for Superchunk fans. As for the rest? Don't
expect iconic monster hooks; on this debut album, the noise is the
hook. Maybe they'll branch out in the future. But do expect to feel a
little warmer and fuzzier inside for no real reason, which I'm pretty
sure is the point. So, mission accomplished! A solid debut.
the pains of being pure at heart's myspace
video for "everything with you"
[Vitals: 10 tracks, distributed by
released Feb 3, 2009]