Chicago Sun-Times
Tuning in with Thomas Conner

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, "The Pains of Being Pure at Heart" (Slumberland) [3.5 STARS]

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Don't let the mounting indie buzz or the awkward, way-too-emo-sounding name put you off: The self-titled release by this two-year-old Brooklyn quartet is as accomplished a debut as the rock underground has produced in the last decade. Sure, the formula is derivative: Mix equal parts jangly pop on just the right side of twee (you hear the Pastels and the Field Mice, I hear the Wedding Present and Beat Happening, though Belle and Sebastian and the Sundays are equally valid reference points) and vintage '90s shoegazer fuzz and drone (see: Ride, Lush, the Jesus and Mary Chain and of course My Bloody Valentine), and voila, you have TPOBPAH.

Still, as formulas go, that one is as good as it gets, especially when the vocal melodies are as enticing as those of guitarist Kip Berman and keyboardist Peggy Wang. Add to those and the sonics the surprisingly dark and twisted undercurrents hiding just below the seductive surface--"This Love Is F---ing Right!" is a song about a relationship that's anything but, while "A Teenager in Love" portrays a troubled soul hooked on "Christ and heroin"--and you have a musical bow that justifies the many comparisons to these musicians' obvious heroes.

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This page contains a single entry by Jim DeRogatis published on February 24, 2009 5:09 PM.

Demo2DeRo: The Cathy Santonies was the previous entry in this blog.

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