The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Belong (Play It Again Sam / Fortuna Pop!)

Second full length record from The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart sees the band conquering 90's alternative rock with aplomb.

Released Apr 14th, 2011 via Fortuna Pop! / By Liv Willars
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Belong (Play It Again Sam / Fortuna Pop!) Leaders of the late Noughties’ indie-pop revival, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart’s first self-titled LP captured teen romance with unabashed joy and anguish, dizzily soundtracking hope and heartbreak with their sunny harmonies and scuffed guitars, plugged directly into blown out speakers. Their following in-betweener EP Higher Than The Stars continued the loved-up feel of yesterday’s twee types with skipping keys and light melodies, but it’s in second album, Belong that The Pains’ leave behind the Eighties nostalgia and jump into the following era, pulling on Cobain’s beloved cardigan and trying their hand at Nineties’ alt.rock.

Unlike certain cheerleaders of 20 year old guitar music, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart leave out the hero worship and incorporate cherry picked elements of that era with their own honest songwriting. Title track ‘Belong’ starts with their soft/loud dynamic, delicately pulling at heartstrings while the guitars crunch in and out of focus. Rather than relying on the simple pop dynamic, the tracks fade and grow, exposing a more self-assured group, mastering the use of volume as it swells and breaks to produce a fuller, formed sound.

Lyrically, at times it can be difficult to trace whether singer Kip Berman‘s lyrics are written through innocence or from a more knowing standpoint, as so many tracks have hints of physical affection but are presented wrapped in nerves or longing. In ‘The Body’ he asks, “Tell me again what the body’s for / cuz I can’t feel it anymore / I lost mine and I need yours / It’s only skin, we could swim”, and ‘Belong’ suggests “If you’re mine, I don’t mind / We tried another, let’s try each other”, but these advances are delivered with such a sweet whisper that it’s uncertain as to whether they’re painfully shy odes or confident suggestions, evoking a very candid feel that makes The Pains’ music such an intriguing listen.

Always restraining themselves from falling into the many hidden traps of twee, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart remain touchingly honest on Belong, and continue to expand their pop sensibilities, building up an enthralling catalogue of releases, worthy of any era.