THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART
“The Echo of Pleasure”
BOTTOM LINE Wearing their hearts on their indie-rock sleeves pays off yet again.
What makes The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s latest album, “The Echo of Pleasure” (Painbow), so refreshing is that their songs leave nowhere to hide.
The simple, sweet melody and straightforward love story of the opener “My Only” could have come from a number of ’80s influences. But The Jesus and Mary Chain would have drenched the sentiment in guitar feedback and roaring riffs. And Morrissey would have built some sort of lyrical separation. But The Pains’ frontman Kip Berman just puts it all out there: “Now that I’ve said it, don’t you forget it, you’re my only.”
The giddy “When I Dance With You” uses bouncy synths and carefree rhythms to approximate the particular happy feeling Berman gets from the contentment and predictability of a stable relationship. “When I dance with you, I feel OK, feel OK,” he sings over the bubbly synths. “’Cause I know just what to do.”
Berman may make things sound simple throughout “The Echo of Pleasure,” but stripping away all the usual protections and leaving yourself this exposed takes great skill, as well as bravery.