The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart‘s debut is a playful album which draws on a variety of pop and rock influences from the ’80s and ’90s. Think Lost in Translation soundtrack and you’re not far off. Alternatively, if you’re not a fan of Ms Coppola’s work, hints of My Bloody Valentine and House Of Love are to be found here in abundance.
Though not exclusively so. At times they draw deeply from the well of ethereal wave music, such as mid-’80s era Cocteau Twins. Indeed, the album opener Contender is a prime example of this – it’s a relatively gentle song, with some dreamlike vocals atop a dose of feedback and distorted guitar, particularly in the latter half.
Young Adult Friction is the standout track of the album – a fantastic pop song, with upbeat guitars and a catchy melody. The lyrics refer to an illicit encounter betwixt some book stacks in a library, and contain the great lines “We came, they went, our bodies spent / Among the dust and the microfiche.” Danceable hooks and sex in academia? I’d buy that for a dollar.
Come Saturday and This Love Is Fucking Right! are a bit forgettable, aside from the latter describing an incestuous relationship, with the line “You’re my sister, and this love is fucking right!” (Again, hats off to the person who penned these lexical gems.)
There’s some head-nodding potential to be found in The Tenure Itch, which also possesses a pleasingly stripped-back middle eight, containing little more than drums and an organ. And things pick up further, tempo-wise, with Stay Alive, complete with a host of guitary goodness and the life-affirming vibes that the title suggests.
The second infusion of pop is to be found in A Teenager In Love, which is a touch subversive. It’s jaunty, but the lyrics are far removed from jauntiness, “A teenager in love with Christ and heroin” being the full refrain. Not only that, but the young girl in question has apparently recently passed on. But you can’t really hear what he’s singing about anyway, so please do bop away merrily.
The finale is a suitably epic affair, weighing in at a mighty four minutes and 32 seconds, making it the longest track on the album. About two thirds of the way in is a drum sequence exactly like that used in Just Like Honey by The Jesus And Mary Chain, which was itself used over the final scenes of Lost in Translation. Neat.
All told it’s a slightly patchy album, but one which is nonetheless saved by a couple of pop gems. As such, it’s a worthwhile acquisition, albeit one you needn’t put it at the top of your wishlist.