A little too pure
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart is named after an unpublished children’s book. A track on their debut was titled “Young Adult Friction.” Their latest album, Belong, features an Anne of Green Gables reference (“Anne with an E”). The Brooklyn quartet is twee-er than hand-knitted leg warmers, but their music is strong, which covers a multitude of cutesy sins.
With tight guitar/bass hooks, vocal harmonies and production from Flood (Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins), Belong is a big, melodic sound blast. Bits of lyric float audibly between string crashes—“she was the heart in your heartbreak,” “take your sweater off,” “even in dreams, I will not betray you”—but most of Kip Berman’s verses are lost to the resonant riffs. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing on first listen—the intricate guitar rock is rousing enough on its own—but after a few replays, all the tracks blend into one long verse-chorus-verse. Belong is pleasant enough, but with Heart’s almost-too-sweet-persona and faint lyrics, its second offering isn’t compelling enough to be compared with their super-producer’s other greats.