|The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart — The Echo Of Pleasure|
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart — The Echo Of Pleasure ≈≠↓ Brooklyn shoegaze combo with one foot on a micro~indie label and one foot on an arena stage.
Location: New York
Genre: Indie Pop, Dream Pop, Shoegaze
Album release: September 1st, 2017
Record Label: Painbow
01. My Only 4:56
02. Anymore 3:43
03. The Garret 4:29
04. When I Dance With You 4:47
05. The Echo of Pleasure 4:27
06. Falling Apart So Slow 3:54
07. So True 4:45
08. The Cure For Death 3:59
09. Stay 5:19
℗© 2017 Painbow Music, Ltd AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra; Score: ****
≈≠↓ After the letdown of Days of Abandon, where Kip Berman stripped the band’s sound down to a merely pleasant shadow of its former self, 2017’s The Echo of Pleasure is an impressive comeback that sees the Pains of Being Pure at Heart recapture the sonic thrills and drama that they have when operating at their best. Berman mostly handled all the music himself, though vocalist Jen Goma plays a large role, and he had some help from bassist Jacob Danish Sloan and horn player Kelly Pratt. This small crew does a fine job of balancing the fuzzy noisegaze of early Pains records with a glossy, very ‘80s approach that owes a great deal to “Lips Like Sugar”~era Echo & the Bunnymen, with a little Psychedelic Furs circa Mirror Moves added for good measure. ≈≠↓ The songs are overloaded with sound — buzzing guitars, crashing cymbals, sugary vocal harmonies, various synths, and thudding drums — while Berman’s vocals are the most mature they’ve ever sounded (most likely because this is the first Pains album that deals with real~life adult concerns like fatherhood and marriage). His voice is the tender heart at the center of the sonic storm, and he holds it together admirably. Goma’s vocals are a perfect counterpoint that adds some earthy balance to his wispy soul, and she sounds fantastic on “So True,” the glittery dance~pop song she sings solo. It’s the poppiest moment on the album by far, though other songs come close. The cute and frothy “When I Dance with You” comes off like a bubbly radio hit, “My Only” is a sunny version of Darklands~era Jesus and Mary Chain with an uplifting chorus, and “The Cure for Death” jangles with all the grandeur of the Church. Along with all the pop, Berman sprinkles in some moments of fragile melancholy and tenderness too, like “Anymore” and “Falling Apart So Slow,” two slices of seriously sad nostalgia with heartbreaking guitar lines. It’s a fine mix of smiles and tears throughout the album, and the heady mix of shoegaze and new wave hits a sweet spot that lots of other bands have aimed for and missed. Berman and the Pains may have stumbled on their previous record, but on The Echo of Pleasure they shine like stars and explode like a rainbow of brilliant colors. It may not pack the same sonic punch as their early singles, but it has an overall more interesting sound, and the hard~won wisdom and feeling Berman injects into the songs now means that the Pains have transcended their struggles to find a sound, and have truly arrived at last. ≈≠↓ http://www.allmusic.com/ © Kip Berman – vocals, guitar. Beacons Festival 2014
By Jordan Blum | August 29, 2017 | 9:41am | Score: 8.3
≈≠↓ The Echo of Pleasure, the fourth LP by New York’s The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, is an exquisite — if also occasionally too familiar — entry into the modern landscape of retro synth pop. Led by the “big~hearted, idealistic” songwriting of frontman Kip Berman — and fleshed out by a variety of players and singers, plus producer Andy Savours — the album bursts with breezy and tight arrangements, meditative melodies, and beautifully poignant lyricism, making it a simultaneously boyish and mature exploration of love, longing and everything in~between.
≈≠↓ It was written and recorded around the hopes, uncertainties and time constraints related to the impending birth of Berman’s daughter. As he anticipated transitioning into fatherhood, he also regarded “the near~symmetry” of romance and how two people can stop feeling each other’s presence while apart. He adds, “In that sense, remembering is a kind of echo, each instance slightly less vivid than the one before,” as well as describing the record as “reflect[ing] the band’s most joyous moments while maintaining [his] candid and critical lyricism, free of the self~abasing insecurity of youth.” Knowing this, it’s even easier to appreciate both the title of the album and its richly evocative sentiments and sounds.
≈≠↓ “My Only” kickstarts the collection with a dazzling array of angelic chants and vintage keyboard swirls (both courtesy of Jess Rojas). Soon after, drummer Chris Schackerman and guitarist Christoph Hochheim add steadfast beats and reverberated riffs to give Berman’s airy starry~eyed verses more grounding. It’s a charmingly simple yet lush and welcoming opener that’s followed by the quicker and sleeker “Anymore” and the highly danceable and whimsical “The Garret” (which finds bassist Jacob Danish steering the ship alongside Hochheim’s Smiths~like outcries and plenty of delightful male/female harmonies).
≈≠↓ The most overtly ‘80s track here is certainly “When I Dance with You,” a bubbly rocker with fittingly glitzy undertones. Afterward, the title track merges the rhythmic fun of Portugal. The Man with the idealistic hooks and shimmering timbres of, say, Human League and Joy Division, while both “Falling Apart So Slow” and the faster “The Cure for Death” are more downtrodden and reflective, like a lost Robert Smith gem. In between them, The Echo of Pleasure offers its most atypical entry, “So True,” an electropop dream on which guest vocalist Jen Goma (A Sunny Day in Glasgow) conjures the lighter side of Neverending White Lights’ penchant for catchy contemplation.
≈≠↓ Closer “Stay” is an appropriately ethereal ballad that sees Berman and Rojas lamenting together over acoustic guitar strums, pensive piano accentuations, and a subtly atmospheric foundation (including arresting horns by Kelly Pratt). It’s easily the most haunting, beautiful, and sophisticated slice of songwriting on The Echo of Pleasure, acting as a conclusive and realistic counterbalance to the majorly upbeat vibe that preceded it. As such, it reveals the dexterity and seriousness beneath the sheen that makes The Pains of Being Pure at Heart so relatable and rewarding.
|The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart — The Echo Of Pleasure|