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The Pains of Being Pure at Heart ()

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The New York indie pop quartet the Pains of Being Pure at Heart built up a pretty rabid fan base in the indie pop community prior to the release of their self-titled debut record in early 2009. For this, they could thank a string of excellent singles and EPs that began in 2007 (songs from which appear on the album) but more than that they can put it down to the fact that their sound melds together the trademarked sounds of many beloved indie and noise pop bands into one shiny ball of sound and melancholy. Mixed in skillfully are the sonic assaults of early My Bloody Valentine, the hazy sweetness of Ride, the introspective and usually morose lyrical approach perfected by the Field Mice, the sensitive and tender vocals purveyed by most Sarah records bands, and the rhythmic drive of early-'90s Amer-Indie bands the likes of which more often than not found themselves on Slumberland (Lilys, the Ropers, Velocity Girl -- whose Archie Moore ably mixes the album). It all could come off like a pastiche with little more than nostalgic value but the band acts as if it were the first time anyone ever captured this kind of sound, never sitting back and aping the past but instead giving it a healthy boost. Plus, they write some very good songs. "Come Saturday," "This Love Is Fucking Right!" (their answer to the Field Mice's "This Love Is Not Wrong"), or "Young Adult Friction" all would have been in serious rotation on a hip college radio station in 1992. Best of all is the amazingly hooky "Everything with You," which stands as the equal of anything the shoegaze poppers or pop losers cranked out back in the day. If you had gone out and bought the 7," after one play you would have tacked the sleeve up on your wall and played the record until the grooves wore out. It's that good. It lifts the album from pretty good to almost great. A little more variation from song to song, a little more of their own sound, or another song or two as compelling as the best stuff here and the POBPAH's debut would have been classic. Settling for impressive is fair enough and good enough for fans of loud, fuzzy, and heartfelt indie noise pop. ~ Tim Sendra, Rovi Hide synopsis

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