Apart from having a brilliant band name, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart are quickly becoming one of the most talked about new bands of 2009.
The ethereal and saccharine-thick indie-pop of their self-titled debut album back in February of this year met with a wall of widespread critical acclaim that was echoed and amplified by a rapidly expanding fanbase. This short EP is an affirmation of their talents, and unveils a band in a vein of fruitful form.
It begins with the title track as celestial synths race along a hypnotic rhythm section. The dreamy, effortless vocal from Kip Berman only adds to the sensation that, for all the world, this band sound like they should be from Scandinavia rather than Brooklyn.
103 is packed heavy with walls of lo-fi The Jesus And Mary Chain guitar noise, but is underpinned by an ever-present sense of melody and engaging pop nous. Falling Over, meanwhile, is as ’80s as a backcombed leopard-print mullet with a Rubix cube nestled in it, and would throw Black Kids into a I’m-waggling-my-hips-but-I’m-actually-quite-jealous kind of a dance move.
Such charming musical backdrops mask the seedy lyrics of Kip Berman who seems to have an unquenchable urge to spill vitriol on sex and relationships. The Saint Etienne visits Lord Spank remix of the title-track, meanwhile, does little to stoke superlatives and coaxes castigation for its title alone.
But while the title-track is an undeniable master-piece, the rest just sounds a bit tired. The Pains are unquestionably good at what they do. It’s just that the dreamy Scandopop thing is rife, and this band don’t really bring anything new to the table. Which probably comes from Ikea.