The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

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Say No To Love
[Slumberland Records]

The Pains have taken the tender idealism of teenage years spent in bedroom seclusion to the studio, the stage, and the world, for all shy outsiders and lonely types to hear, and that makes “Say No To Love” a quintessential message from a band that seems so happy to be sad.

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart are descendants in a long lineage of twee, shoegaze, indie-pop, college rock. They’ve broken through with a sound that’s bi-passed the margins of zine culture and late night college radio programs where many of their closest aural ancestors always remained. In that sense, they’ve expanded the culture, reinvigorated it, in part thanks to the internet’s ability to connect those shy and sensitive types who find The Pains’ music to be a warm pillow in a cold world.

Like moments on their debut full-length, “Lost Saint” delves into references of subtle Christianity. This is not a story of a teenager in love with Christ in heaven, but of Saint Heloise who experiences inner grief from family, school, and strangers. Kip Berman delivers his laments with the same fey whisper, behind that wall of lush power drenched pop, advising, “Wound him with impassive eyes, he knows his wasted life.”

“Say No To Love” is infectiously tuneful. Lyrically, it plays like a letter to a friend in a bad relationship with tenderness and suggestions of hope. Berman sings, “When everything he does is wrong, and all you want to feel is ‘gone,’ go on.” The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart may be the name of the band, but it could easily describe the arcs of the characters in Berman’s stories. It’s also the sentiment that draws in his like-minded audiences.

Originally published in Impose Magazine it can be viewed here.

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