The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Days of Abandon


4.0
excellent

Review

by Kyle Robinson USER (39 Reviews)
May 13th, 2014 | 15 replies


Release Date: 05/13/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Growing up, as it turns out, has fewer Pains than you thought.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart have always frustrated me. As an avowed fan of jangly, melodic guitar music, they were a band that I was supposed to love, for all those little hints of similarity to artists like The Smiths, The Sundays, and Japanese pop rock groups like Advantage Lucy or The Pillows. They played Fender guitars, had airy, shoegaze-inflected voices, and a Token Cute Asian Girl Band Member. With clean-shaved faces and cardigans, Pains was an old-school indie rock band in the same vein as Rocketship or Velocity Girl, in a scene oversaturated with very serious bearded guys and glum acoustic guitars.

But the execution always left something to be desired, and their debut didn't particularly impress me, with the exception of just a few tracks. “Young Adult Friction,” “Stay Alive” and “A Teenager In Love” stood out inside of an otherwise forgettable record that certainly wasn't bad, but had been done much better by groups like Asobi Seksu.

After hearing the excellent singles “Heart In Your Heartbreak” and “Say No To Love,” I had much higher expectations for their follow-up Belong, but found the final product much like Japanese confections: Lush and pretty on the outside, but without a lot of substance or lasting appeal. But outstanding tracks like the lead-up singles, “The Body,” and “Even In Dreams,” once again, show hints of greatness. Belong was a better record, but still not a great record.

It is with great pleasure that I'm pleased to say Pains have finally touched their full potential on their third full-length, Days Of Abandon. Kip Berman has jettisoned the ineffective half-shoegaze fuzz guitars of the past records and replaced them bouncy, jangly tones more reminiscent of The Pretenders or Johnny Marr's playing, which contribute greatly to the album's success. This is particularly evident on standout track “Masokissed,” which shows a level of complexity and musical skill absent from the group's earlier work. Peggy Wang is gone, replaced by Jen Goma, whose vocals contribute tremendously to “Kelly” and “Life After Life,” two of the best tracks on the album. Wang's lo-fi keyboard has been replaced by a much more expansive and lush sound that naturally fills out the cleaner compositions on Days.

What's most satisfying about Days is that Kip Berman has reached a level of skill and maturity in composition that surpasses everything else the group has done before. “Art Smock” and “Beautiful You” are subdued tracks but remain interesting, with subtle vocal hooks and flourishes that show a wider range than the previous records. The vocal melodies on “Eurydice” and “Simple And Sure” are some of the best Berman's ever written, and are a nice progression from the indistinct shoegaze haziness that tended to dominate their earlier music.

The record isn't perfect - “Until The Sun Explodes” is the weakest track on the album and, maybe not coincidentally, sounds the most like the band's older material, and the band's lyrics are hit or miss: much like the album cover, they tend to be an uncomfortable juxtaposition of wistful cuteness and bleak indulgence that doesn't always work. But in every way, the album is a step forward Berman and drummer Kurt Feldman – the sole remaining members of the original lineup. It's hard to say whether the lineup change was a result or catalyst for “Days,” but there's no doubting that the result is a fine summer album and a welcome progression for a promising band.



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user ratings (44)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
JS19
May 13th 2014


4280 Comments


Lookin forward to this

Digging: This Will Destroy You - Another Language

klap
Staff Reviewer
May 13th 2014


10420 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

good review dude. "kelly" is probably my favorite off this

Digging: Tennis - Ritual In Repeat

RadicalEd
May 13th 2014


2649 Comments


oh wow this is out. Good review gotta check

Digging: U2 - Songs of Innocence

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
May 13th 2014


3449 Comments


Belong was such a good album will check this sometime probs

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
May 13th 2014


13139 Comments


Belong was such a good album will check this sometime probs [2]


Digging: Electric Wurms - Musik Die Schwer Zu Twerk

DoubtGin
May 13th 2014


6752 Comments


awesome, didn't know they had a new one out

apparently it's their worst, though

instantradical
May 13th 2014


212 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

See, I'd strongly disagree with that. It's better than the first two albums in just about every way. The songwriting and musicianship are so much better than on the debut.

Though I think Belong was a decent record overall, the debut really felt like it was just riding the indie press hype train.

silentstar
May 13th 2014


2253 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this album sounded gorgeous from when I listened to it a few days ago: still have to go through a few more songs before rating but it'll probably be a 4

good review btw, pos'd

ps: decided to do some research on why the asian chick left and it's because she wanted to focus on her job at buzzfeed, ugh || http://www.buzzfeed.com/peggy

FadedSun
May 13th 2014


1270 Comments


She leaves a good band to work for Buzzfeed? That's sad.

silentstar
May 13th 2014


2253 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

and you'd think she would write good "articles" (lol) but she sounds like a 16 year old blogger

Wadlez
May 13th 2014


4096 Comments


Heaing this band's sound described I should love them, although I was unuimpressed by their last effort.

SwayzeFaced
May 13th 2014


349 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review, nice album.

henryChinaski
May 13th 2014


2758 Comments


Cool, gotta check this out. Nice review!

oneups
May 13th 2014


32 Comments


Really solid review and it's going to make me check this band out again. Look at the first sentence of the first paragraph: "It is with great pleasure that I'm pleased to say..." That just caught my attention, the repetition. It's something I do myself so I tend to notice it but aside from that small note this is a really clever and well written review.

Thanntos
May 13th 2014


319 Comments


Honestly was super disappointed by this



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