There’s something to be said for a band that can wear its heart on its sleeve. In the best-case scenarios, these are the acts that really connect to their fans, the ones that invite their listeners into a world that goes far deeper than the lyric sheet. Case in point: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Since forming around frontman Kip Berman in 2007, the New York–based shoegazers have championed a refreshing, lay-it-all-on-the-table approach. Their songs are nostalgic and wistful, calling to mind a reference list (The Smiths, The Cure, The New Pornographers, My Bloody Valentine) that lovingly extends to the bottom of the record-store bins. Songs boast titles like “Higher Than the Stars” and “Until the Sun Explodes” and “This Love Is Fucking Right!” And if you get Berman on the phone, he practically radiates heartfelt emotions.
“The new record really made me realize that so long as I don’t die, I can keep on making music that is meaningful to me and isn’t degraded by anything else,” he told us last week.
If that sounds dire, it’s only partially the case. Earlier this year, Pains released Days of Abandon, their sweet and sparkling third studio album, which brought a welcome scaling back of the big, arena-ready sound that manifested on the band’s 2011 sophomore effort. More importantly, though, Days of Abandon marked the first Pains record made without the majority of the band’s founding members. Today, Berman stands as the only permanent figure in The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s lineup. It’s a position that he’s yet to fully settle into but one that he’s warming up to more and more by the day.
“Collaborating with new people and making these songs at a time where I didn’t know if the band could go on made me realize that not only could this band go on, but it could go on to do things that weren’t even possible before,” he explained.
It’s a sincere sentiment, delivered by a man whose been banking on sincerity and candidness since the start. It’s also just one of the reasons why The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s fans have fallen so hard for this band. —AC
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart play the New Noise Block Party in the Funk Zone on Sunday, October 19. For a full lineup and info, visit newnoisesb.com.