The Pains of Being Pure At Heart Belong

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart Belong
With the resurrection of Slumberland Records and a renewed interest in '80s indie pop, Brooklyn, NY's the Pains of Being Pure at Heart dropped their self-titled debut at an opportune time in 2009. That album's sonic cocktail of loud, jangly guitars, wistfully soft melodies and awkwardly starry-eyed lyrics felt like a Frankenstein monster assembled using the best of NME's legendary C86 comp as the raw material. On their anticipated follow-up, the Pains opted to make the most out of their surprise success by bringing in the highly renowned team of Alan Moulder and Flood (Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins) to do the mixing and production, respectively. Belong doesn't waste time putting the hired hands to work. The opening title track cranks up the overdrive to an excessive level as the band proclaim their outsider status. They keep the guitars thunderous for the better part of the record, stepping on the pedals for the extra crunchy "Even In Dreams" and the strident distortion of "Girl of 1000 Dreams." The adjustments the Pains have made are minor: more whimsy, rhythm-heavy tracks like "My Terrible Friend" and "The Body" won't seem like such a surprise if you kept up with the singles they released in between albums, and they've heightened their shoegaze fixation to perfection with closer "Strange." Some might perceive the graduation from the modest self-production of their debut to the premium service provided by Flood and Moulder as blowing their load too quickly. But with Belong, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart have stayed true to their songwriting and simply done what any goods parent would do for their kids: give their songs the best education money can buy. (Slumberland)