Published Mar 17, 2011The combined discography produced and/or mixed by Flood and Alan Moulder is arguably the most impressive list of albums on any résumé over the last 30 years. Those albums include such iconic releases as My Bloody Valentine's Loveless, Nine Inch Nails' The Downward Spiral and Pretty Hate Machine, U2's The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby, and Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. The newest addition is the sophomore album from Brooklyn indie pop troupe the Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Surprised? So are they.
In an interview with Exclaim!, Pains frontman Kip Berman admitted that working with such musical luminaries as Flood and Moulder caught them by surprise.
"A lot has been made of us making this record with Flood and Alan Moulder, but that's an accurate reflection of that," Berman says. "It was not a normal experience for an indie pop band with their second release on Slumberland Records to get a chance to go into the studio with them. Bands that usually work with them are more established and critically and commercially recognized to have that opportunity. So for us to get a chance to really make a record with them was very much a dream come true."
For the band's second album, Belong (out March 29 on Slumberland), they sought out the production power duo, who co-own London's Assault & Battery 2 studio, to give the band the sound of the records that inspired them during their formative years.
"Looking at the artists they've worked with and their track record, it's an unquestionable level of aesthetic taste and accomplishment -- especially our aesthetic taste matching Alan Moulder's in particular," Berman confesses. "He worked with Ride, the Jesus & Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Smashing Pumpkins, Swervedriver, the Sundays. He worked on the records that inspired us to play music in the first place. There's something about his intuitive touch for making this great big and beautiful rock music that's interesting in terms of mixing that almost felt like this total sense of trust going into the mixing room with him and just knowing that Alan Moulder will have mixed it and he doesn't fuck up. If it sucks, it's our fault."
Berman says the experience helped them realize that they were no longer the same band that cut 2009's critically adored self-titled LP.
"The first record felt a little bit, for better or worse, record-collector, geek-out music and it felt like this is our lives," he said. "And it was a cool feeling to almost realize your own bullshit and get a little beyond that. I think criticism is valid, and if we're a little too in love with every band from Glasgow in the last 30 years, that's understandable; we do love that stuff. But I feel like this record represents our actual selves more than our imagined selves."
However, he adds, "I feel we're still 74 percent consistent and 26 percent innovative. But Brian Eno once said the best records are 90 percent derivative and ten percent innovative, so actually, I think I've overestimated the innovation on our record."
The Pains are currently lighting up Austin with their dreamy noise pop at SXSW, and will then hit the road at the end of March for a full U.S. tour. You can see the entire list of dates here.
For the time being, you can stream Belong in its entirety below.