The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart The Pains Of Being Pure At HeartBelong
To record their second studio album, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart decided to hire two elite names whose sound couldn’t be further away from that of their debut: producer Flood and mixer Alan Moulder. Our boys and girl couldn’t resist when the British engineers showed interest in producing their new work. And as it turns out, the match is perfect for magnifying the band’s passion for British shoegaze. Flood and Moulder were responsible in the past for shaping Smashing Pumpkins’ “Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness”, an album the New Yorkers admit they have been heavily influenced by and can be heard as soon as the guitars of the initial homonymous track sound. While before, they wanted their songs to sound “as is”, without studio trickery, “Belong” needed to be recorded in grand style. Something completely different from their request to Archie Moore to make their debut sound in the vein of Velocity Girl and Black Tambourine, but not a bad decision at all.
This professionalization of the sound, apart from propelling the band upwards, means another step forward: it takes them from the C86 school amateur spirit to the sonic hurricanes of the aggressive nineties. Are they renouncing the twee vein that put so many smiles on our faces? No. Although, according to them, the album sounds as if they’ve stripped back everything they were hiding before, the romanticism in their music is still very present. The material on “Belong” might appear more adult, reinforced, but equally candid in its interior. Now, the instruments aren’t playing their own role separately – the sound is like a crushing wave of magma that can even be too much at times, in Flood’s production. It avoids some instrumental passages standing out with the sympathetic hooks of their early songs, prioritising a compact sound covered with a more resistant crust.
Above all, love is still the main theme in beautiful, sweet and powerful lyrics like those of “Heart In Your Heartbreak”, “Even In Dreams” ( “Even in dreams, I cannot betray you”) and “Strange” ( “I can tell you’re strange like me"). On one side the innocent lyric of their first album are poeticised, while at the same time there are more visible references to sex and drugs, which makes the group sound tastily spicy. The guitars are bigger, there’s more distortion and, although the vocal contributions of keyboardist Peggy Wang are fewer, the melody that characterises them is always careful.
“Belong” grows like a big and important record. It goes all out but without neglecting one of the most sparkling pop essences of the past few years. It’s time to get serious, lower the head and look at the shoes to come to the conclusion that The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart are no longer trying to get to the level of My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus and Mary Chain –godfathers of “Girls Of 1000 Dreams”– and Ride, but that they can sound as robust and immortal as them. A pure consecration, without fear and heartfelt.