The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are an American indie pop band from New York City. Their band consists of Kip Berman on vocals and guitar, Peggy Wang on keyboards and vocals, Alex Naidus on bass, Kurt Feldman on drums, and Christoph Hochheim on guitar. Their first album was the self-titled ‘The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’ in 2009. ‘Belong’ is their second and latest album released in March 2011. It reached #109 in UK and #92 in US. There are some elements similar to bands such as the Cure.
The first song on the album is ‘Belong’ of which the album is named also. I thought it had a good anthem/choral element. The beginning reminded me faintly of ‘How Soon is Now’ by The Smiths with the sliding of the guitar. The whispering high vocals sound haunting over the constant drum in the background and the guitar and bass all fit in well to the song. I think it is put together well, the repetition of the lyrics mean that it is a good song to sing along to. The second song ‘Heaven’s Gonna Happen Now’ shows variety in their album. It begun a lot more upbeat and faster. The mix of female and male lyrics and high pitches of both reminded me of ‘The Magic Numbers’ as odd as this comparison sounds. This second song showed a much more upbeat side to this band which I liked. The third song is another fast song called ‘Heart in your Heartbreak’ and I couldn’t help but recognise the beginning from another song. (which happened to be http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpclBeMtCII ) Compare the two and I couldn’t help but notice similarities in the voice and tune. Having said this though it is a good song and i found it the easiest to listen to not too deeply, just to enjoy the music.
I have to admit throughout listening to the album every song seemed to remind me of another, particularly at the beginnings. Whether this is a personal music trait of me recognising songs and always comparing them to similar ones or if there are some inspirations the band took heed from in their music. Either way I don’t think it makes the album not good, I just felt I had heard much of it before, and as harsh as it may seem I just thought they sound like they should be on the Twilight soundtracks. Of course this is only my personal experience and I listen to similar music as this at times so maybe through fresh ears others will find it better. The 7th song in this album (there are only 10 tracks) is called ‘My Terrible Friend’ and is again upbeat and fast, I thought this song was good as well for the same reason that you could dance or sing along to this. The final song is called ‘Strange’ and it was another ethereal anthem type of song with a good drum.
Overall, I thought the album Belong by The Pains of Being Pure of Heart was good to listen to but I couldn’t help but find it a bit samey in the tunes, lyrics and beat. The constant reminders for me to other songs also made them not stand out, whether that was just a case of the band being committed to one genre of music. From listening to this album all the way through several times though I found myself regressing back to when I was 13/14 and listening to some of the songs on the Twilight soundtracks again which this band so reminded me of.
Here is the spotify link to their album to give it a listen yourself and see if you agree The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Belong