The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Belong
Belong is the sophomore album from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, which from now on I will refer to simply as Heart. Before I get into the review, let me make something clear: I was not that impressed with their debut, so I came into this a little bit skeptical. I was shocked.
This was a good kind of shocked, though, as Belong pulls off something so hard, so effortlessly. The easiest way to describe their new found sound would be to take an early ‘90s alt-rock band and drown it in a wash of dreamy shoegaze. Somehow, somehow…They pull it off.
In fact, their songs feel extremely familiar, and I’ve recently realized that parts of their melodies are taken from other songs, like “My Terrible Friend”, which sounds incredibly similar to The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven”, and “Heaven’s Gonna Happen Now” which recalls “How It Ends” by Devotchka. While I almost always hate that, I found it comforting, and I guess that results from the overall feeling of familiarity throughout the album.
Oh, the world would be such a better place if Belong was the voice of a generation instead of any of that Eminem bullshit. Ok, maybe that’s stretching it a bit, but this album is required listening.
For fans of: Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure, My Bloody Valentine
Best to listen to when: You’ve lost your copy of Loveless.
Avoid at all costs if: Eminem is your hero.
Now it is known: Flood, who produced Belong, has worked with Smashing Pumpkins. Alan Moulder, who mixed it, has worked with My Bloody Valentine. Go figure.
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart is an indie pop band which formed in 2007 in New York City, New York, United States. They consist of Kip Berman (vocals, guitar), Peggy Wang (vocals, keyboards), Alex Naidus (bass) and Kurt Feldman (drums). Feldman also plays guitar and sings in The Ice Choir. The band name comes from an unpublished children’s story of the same title that a friend of singer Kip Berman wrote. The group’s self-titled album peaked at #9 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. On September 22, 2009, they released Higher Than the Stars, their second EP..
Pt. 3: Why? – Eskimo Snow
“I wear the customary clothes of my time/Like Jesus did with no reason not to die”. This is vintage Why?, people! But, on their third album, Eskimo Snow, Why? sober up and get deep. On “Against Me”, Yoni croons “Oh am I too concerned with the burn of scrutiny?/Will I gain weight later in life?” Instead of using the unusual and the brash to articulate his perception of everything around him, he looks inside to his own insecurities, wondering about the future and his own morality.
At first, it’s strangely polarizing, as I found myself either loving or hating each song as they had flashes of Why’s snarky humor, but for the most part were played seriously. Although, don’t think for a second that there aren’t a million epic one-liners packed within those 10 short songs!
While this is definitely slightly different sound for Why?, I think that this may be their best album especially when you have a song like “This Blackest Purse”, which pretty much validates the album’s purchase by itself.
For fans of: I’m not doing this again.
Best to listen to when: You’ve been following along every week and now know that Why? has a third album! Thanks Logan! No problemo.
Avoid at all costs if: I’m not doing this again, either.
Now it is known: Eskimo Snow was recorded at the same time as Alopecia.
WHY? is an American hip hop and indie rock band. Originally the moniker of Berkeley, California artist Jonathan “Yoni” Wolf, WHY? became a full band before their 2005 release Elephant Eyelash with Doug McDiarmid and Matt Meldon, as well as Yoni’s older brother, Josiah Wolf. In 2008, the group added bassist Austin Brown to their lineup, making them a four-piece once again. In their arrangements, WHY? leans more toward folk and indie rock, as opposed to the more hip hop styling of their label-mates. Their lyrics also tend to be very abstract, focusing more on imagery than on any particular story.