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The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Belong

Karlyn King


On immediate listen, first track and new single Belong sounds nothing like the POBPAH. The unsuspecting listener may think they’ve accidently put on Cherub Rock by the Smashing Pumpkins, minus the nasal squealing of Billy Corgan.  Yet this is the new POBPAH album, and the heavier direction works surprisingly well, even with the soft lead vocals of Berman. Alas it doesn’t continue fully throughout the rest of the album, with the more typical sounds creeping back. But this is by no means a bad thing.

Heaven’s Gonna Happen Now is full bodied sigh-pop, full of optimism, and images of the nearing summertime. Harmonic guitar solos and sophisticated production by Flood and Alan Moulder bring out the unlimited potential of the Brooklyn group. The Body is all Cure-like synth riffs, brought bang up to date with fey, naive musings like “tell me again what the body’s for?” Too Tough ventures into darker territory with blasting chorus lines, and musings about hidden feelings and bittersweet coupling, in the vein of obvious influences, My Bloody Valentine.

Last single Heart in your Heartbreak, with duel lulled vocals, is a reflection on girls from the past, never to be seen again.  Girl of 1000 Dreams is heavier pop/rock romp reminiscent of the early Ash singles, with simple emotional vocals and fuzz fest guitars. Anne with an E sounds like a lost Field Mice single, Romantic and dreamy, but wanting to “go out tonight and do something that’s wrong”, with the clue in the title. It’s probably what Glasvegas would like to sound like, minus the Tennents’ Super Lager.

Are the heartbreak poppers leaving their DIY roots to enter the dark side? It really doesn’t matter, with stronger song craft and elite production, they will always reflect a C86 vibe, and reverence for British shoe gaze.  We predict sentimental heroes and heroine tags very soon.