The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have, since their inception, been a band that channels older music really well and efficiently, warming your cold hipster heart with comforting shoegaze sounds of the My Bloody Valentine variety. On their sophomore effort, the NY band continues with this trend, although they look to slightly different places for inspiration. I hear more upbeat post-punk music all over Belong, and The Cure being their focal point. Robert Smith could have written “My Terrible Friend” or “Heaven’s Gonna Happen Now”, which features the most memorable guitar solo I’ve ever heard from TPoBPaH. The song, which is clearly the strongest on the album, winds round and round, like two young lovers on a merry go round. “Heart in Your Heartbreak” is driven by a delightfully cheesy 80’s guitar line while “Anne with an E” is wistfully delicate and slightly reminiscent of Simon & Garfunkel. The band dips into more modern sounds with “Girl of 1000 Dreams”, a song vying to be the indie version of Blink 182 and the final two tracks, which are softspoken and begging to be beat up in a way that I used to think were reserved for Keane.
All in all, although it's neither groundbreaking nor absolutely vital, it's a decent (albeit often times too sweet) album, definitely worth a listen or two.
TPoBPaH will play a free in-store gig at Amoeba San Francisco on April 19th at 6:30 PM.