The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s “Belong” Puts Them In Another League

Today, Brooklyn’s The Pains of Being Pure at Heart return with Belong, their second full-length effort. The band, who found critical success with whimsical and subtle guitar-led indie pop songs like “Higher Than Stars” and “Come Saturday” seem to have found their stride in this record, which is airy and open but maintains the whispery melody and toe-tapping riffs that they’re known for.

Whether it’s an illusion or not, the music sounds bigger. I guess that’s what happens when you tap a mega-producer like Flood (PJ Harvey, Nine Inch Nails, The Smashing Pumpkins). But things haven’t changed all that much, Peggy and Kip still alternate vocal duties and are still barely audible under the waves of sound they create. The lyrics are also more direct. Less memories, and more moments. It’s all enveloped by this dynamic heaviness; the music has grown around these lyrics. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart aren’t trying to prove anything to anyone and maybe they never were, but this record proudly announces, “We’re here.”

Belong’s Tracklist:

  1. “Belong”

  2. “Heavens Gonna Happen Now”

  3. “Heart In Your Heartbreak”

  4. “The Body”

  5. “Anne with an E”

  6. “Even in Dreams”

  7. “My Terrible Friend”

  8. “Girls of 1000 Dreams”

  9. “Too Tough”

  10. “Strange”

Yes, you will pop the disc in (or press play on your iPod) hear the title track, “Belong” and you may be stunned by the resemblance to so many familiar artists (ie: The Smashing Pumpkins) of lore. But it’s really the best of both worlds: a young, honest band that is coming of age in the way that they’re expressing themselves, and music that is really listenable and enjoyable. There’s an inherent beauty in listening to “Heart in Your Heartbreak,” a melodic trip through regret and disappointment, but you feel so embraced by it that you can’t be destroyed by it. Even the closer, “Strange,” puts a neat little ethereal bow on things.

All of the songs are beautiful, significant and meaningful in a way that is both deep without being heavy, and heavy without being deep. It’s ten tracks of dreamy, musical wonder that some may not be able to digest in one listen.

It’s hard to want to see The Pains of Being Pure at Heart do more than this. They really are doing this, so well.