Ah, the curse of the second album. TPOBPAT’s debut album and early singles and EPs were pretty damn awesome. Then last year’s Belong album wasn’t up to the standards of the debut and it got quite a kicking (OK it wasn’t as good, but it wasn’t the turkey that a lot of the reviews suggested).
Anyway, to coincide with a European tour over the next month or so, the band are releasing a new single, which couples two of their favourite songs ‘Jeremy’ by The Magnetic Fields and ‘My Life Is Wrong’ by East River Pipe on the b-side.
‘Jeremy’ has been made available to stream, it’s out as a download next week on PIAS and then as a 7″ on October 29.
They play Glasgow Oran Mor on October 14, Manchester Ruby Lounge on October 15 and London Dingwalls on October 16.
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart -‘Belong.’ (Slumberland)
Boom! ten seconds into the opening, title track of their sophomore album, it becomes abundantly clear that Belong is not simply a rehash of their debut album of two years ago. This track is a shoegazing meets grunge headshake of a tune, and it’s like 1991 all over again (unless you were a raver, I suppose). ‘Heaven’s Gonna Happen Now’ the second track is perhaps closer to their debut.
This album has taken a kicking in certain quarters, and it’s not just the fact that it’s not TPOBPAH II but rather the way that they have changed their sound quite a lot in places. the record can feel overproduced at times – ‘The Body’ and ‘My Terrible Heart’ are way too indebted to New Order for their own good. There’s nothing wrong with New Order – but by the time of their second album, a band should have forged their own way far more. However, ‘Girl of 1,000 Dreams’ and ‘Too Tough’ are excellent tracks.
Sure, it’s not as strong as their debut – and it took me a while to get to grips with it – but there’s enough here to recommend a listen. It’s certainly much better than some of the bile that’s been thrown its’ way.
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart -‘The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart’ (Fortuna Pop!)
So…it here it comes, one of the anticipated releases on the indie underground. After an EP and a handful of singles over the course of more than a year, the debut LP from The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, How does it measure up?
The first thing to say is that this album is a wonderful mix of contrasts that, somehow, come together rather wonderfully. It’s no exaggeration to say that it’s part of an ‘alternative’ pop trajectory that begins with the Velvet Underground’s first album and continues through seminal debuts by The Pastels, The Wedding Present and the Jesus and Mary Chain, on through Nirvana and then Belle and Sebastian. Yet it also sounds as fresh as a daisy, as oppposed to tired ‘heard it all before riffs and beats.’ And if you thought after last single ‘Everything With You’ that it was My Bloody Valentine guitars all the way, then ‘A Teenager in Love’ has echoes of eighties synthpop, and as we all know by now, there ain’t no sound more 2009 than 1982.
The band hail from New York City but this is an album that feels like it’s spiritual home is Glasgow. Does this not compute at all? Well, there are few albums that evoke New York more than Lou Reed’s Transformer and that was recorded in London. It just sums it all up the contrasts…yet what cannot be disputed is that this is an album that you cannot fail to fall in love with. There’s guitar fuzz, drums that echo Bobby Gillespie and Mo Tucker and vocals that remind you of summer days and feeling like anything is possible.
Finally, it remains inevitable that it will be loved across the blogosphere, the hip record shops and the indier-than-thou fanzines – but wouldn’t it be great if it became the commercial breakthorugh that it deserves to be.
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart will be released on February 3 through Fortuna Pop.