Retro rock done remarkably well...

By channeling a very particular brand of musical nostalgia, Brooklyn’s The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart have achieved an end product that’ll appeal both to scene-active youths with money to burn on fashion following and old-timers who had the time of their life when the ‘80s became the ‘90s.

Cast your mind back to the time when ‘proper’ indie ruled the best pages of the weekly music magazines (well, papers at the time): it’s this era that ‘The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart’ revisits, its noise-soaked melodies a flashback to Dinosaur Jr in their prime, and the J&MC in terms of the skull-rattling fuzz that fills one’s listening gear. That’s not us saying this is a tinnitus-inducing listen; it’s just that tracks like ‘Come Saturday’ and ‘Stay Alive’ possess a roundness that separates them from Teenage Fanclub-like jangle-pop.

The album begins in tone-setting form, ‘Contender’ flashing substantial guitar savageness beneath a veil of laid-on-thick feedback; all the while, the vocals are delivered with clarity unbecoming of acts pursuing instrumental raucous avenues. Every song here could (and most probably will) be a great live sing-along. ‘Young Adult Friction’ takes a turn for the introspective after a couple of out-the-blocks belters, but never does the accessibility falter.

After a while a degree of repetition does creep into the equation – it’s evident that TPOBPAH have a set-in-stone formula that they’re unlikely to stray from. But such is the joy exuded across these ten tracks, which fly by in no time at all, that such a criticism can’t quite stick. After all, if it clearly isn’t broke…

‘A Teenager In Love’ taps into The Cure; elsewhere there are shades of early-doors Valentine, and even The Field Mice. So it’s not to the present this foursome are looking to for inspiration, and such an approach serves them well at the moment. But where they go next is a definite question which isn’t answered here – how does an act so rooted in the past actively progress come album two?

Ah, who cares for the meantime. Switch on, turn up, enjoy – if you’re not beaming two minutes in, you’ve got the wrong record on.


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