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A passionate blast of Inide Pop excellence from hotly tipped New Yorkers
Eamonn Seoige, 18 Apr 2011
A couple of years on from their striking debut, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart return with Belong. It’s no major creative departure; twin production wizards Flood and Moulder (Smashing Pumpkins, Depeche Mode) have tweaked their sound a little, that’s all.
The waves of guitar distortion are significantly reduced, but mercifully their blurry sound and endearingly twee leanings haven’t been sidelined. Belong is an uncomplicated record, clearly indebted to the spirit of classic grunge and early shoe-gaze.
It’s immediately enthralling, loud and loaded with hooks, and effortlessly channels the topsy-turvy excitement of those emotionally fraught teen years.
Opener ‘Belong’ is simply too close for comfort, mind: a blatant mimic of Billy Corgan’s Smashing Pumpkins in their Siamese Dream pomp. Not to worry – from there on Belong is choc-full of fine songwriting. Tracks are built around the basic core of driving chord sequences, set against Kip and Peggy’s soft, melancholic vocals, each riff providing the ideal accompaniment to a sequence of love-tangled storylines.
An air of reflective nostalgia permeates, with every soaring chorus spinning tales of idyllic romance and doomed liaisons.
Killer tracks? Take your pick! An absolute highlight is the majestic ‘Even In Dreams’, which builds quietly before erupting into a glorious rattle. Kip’s sombre vocal is met head-on by a haze of driving guitar. The youthful anguish of ‘Heart In Your Heartbreak’ is equally gripping. It features a driving rock beat, coloured by sweet vocal melodies, haunting synth and spikey guitars.
A near perfect slice of indie escapism.