Finally an affordable, mass-marketable time machine has hit the shop shelves, courtesy of NYC clunky-names The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart (henceforth referred to, for better or worse, as The Pains). Pine for the heady days of 1986 when you bought your first Wedding Present badge, scrawled Pastels’ lyrics on your school desk, and tried to work out how you’d propose to Amelia Fletcher if Talulah Gosh ever came over to play? Simply spin The Pains’ patented time-warp disc on your Sanyo hi-fi and you’ll find yourself transported back to janglier times. 1986 was the year of NME’s influential C86 tape, a collection of music deemed to be “the most indie thing to have ever existed”, an epitaph that fits The Pains perfectly.
Whether it be winsome songs set in the dusty confines of the local library (Young Adult Friction) or, an aesthetic that posits what My Bloody Valentine would sound like if they’d never realized their vocals sounded better when you couldn’t actually hear them, the Pains proudly wear their anoraks on their sleeves. Come Saturday’s propulsive pop-punk influenced guitars, which underscore fey high-pitched pretty-boy confessions about a long-distance relationship (the other half, you suspect, spends their week studying Baudelaire at uni and putting in a few hours in their local vegan co-op) with sugar-bowl sweet lyrics like “Who cares if there’s a party somewhere?/We’re gonna stay in”.
The Pains’ fuzzy jangle-pop tread runs parallel with their fellow New Yorkers’ current aesthetic fetish. Where Crystal Stilts rip out an altogether darker Jesus and Mary Chain-style set, The Pains’ template is more along the lines of Field Mice’s major key moments. It seems cruel to penalize them for not being as archly cool as the leather jacket fuzz gangs they run alongside, but then who wears a snorkel jacket to a party and makes friends? Until this four-piece inject even a millilitre of their own personality into their music, their music is about as credible as Bjorn Again.
Fucking catchy, mind.
See also: Various- Indiepop 1 [Rough Trade]