Since the release of their debut LP on Slumberland Records in 2009, the welcoming of each new The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart record into the world has been a joy.
Despite the near-crippling hype, the band’s first album was a triumph – a neat, near-perfect collection of C-86 influenced jangle pop with more heart and energy than most band’s don’t manage to conjure in their entire discographies. And so it has been ever since. The band’s following records, Belong and Days of Abandon, may have boasted better production values, and expanded their sound to the realms of slick almost electro-pop territory, the core of what The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart (TPOBPAH) stood for remained constant: infectious melodies, and heart aplenty. So how does their latest LP The Echo of Pleasure, the band’s fourth LP, fare?
Stylistically, it’s reminiscent of the group’s second album. Indeed echoes of Belong’s standout track ‘The Body’ can be heard gliding through title track ‘The Echo of Pleasure’, and the beautifully anthemic ‘Anymore’ feels like it could follow Belong on a forthcoming compendium of the band’s greatest work. So, throughout The Echo of Pleasure, TPOBPAH state their commitment to a sound they have previously fostered with gusto and refined it further. But there are curveballs within the nine tracks on display. ‘When I Dance With You’ is euphoric pop at its finest, catchy and driving. It feels like the TPOBPAH track most likely to be heard blasting through car radios in the near future, whereas album closer ‘Stay’, Kip Bearman’s frail vocals framed by simple piano and swirling brass, is a side of the New York group not witnessed on previous records. It reads like a cliché, but throughout The Echo Of Pleasure TPOBPAH refine what they do best, and continue to move forward to where you might not have expected.
On its own merits, and for a band four records in, The Echo Of Pleasure in an impressively good record. Immediately identifiable with TPOBPAH stamp of quality, one that they have worked hard to achieve in previous years, and pushing the boundaries of what we have come to expect from the band, it’s a welcome addition to a back catalogue already teeming with gems. It’s a record that shows that TPOBAH are going to be making quality LPs for a long time to come, and that’s something to be excited about.