The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Amoeba Hollywood - May 8th @ 6:00pm
The new album, Days of Abandon, comes out on May 13th and the band stops in LA to play some new songs and meet fans after the show.
Fans who pre-order the album at the in-store will receive a limited-edition litho of the cover art (by South Korean artist Lee Jinju) to get signed by the band AND a $5 Amoeba Gift Certificate to spend on your next visit!
Days of Abandon, the long-awaited third record from New York’s The Pains of Being Pure at Heart finds the band focusing on what’s always set them apart from their peers – songwriting. After two critically-acclaimed records (The New York Times, Pitchfork, The Guardian, Rolling Stone, Spin) that demonstrated the group’s ability to shift musical registers from bedroom pop daydreams to Alternative Nation anthems, the band is poised to share a new vision of gilded pop idealism. Gliding along on bright, sleek guitars and light, skipping percussion. Abandon is big-hearted and tonic. From the crystalline confessional of “Art Smock” to the prom-in-heaven ready “Beautiful You,” this rich and ever-striving sound serves as the perfect backdrop to showcase the renewed emotional depth and candor of Kip Berman’s lyricism.
Produced by Andy Savours (My Bloody Valentine, Patrick Wolf, Cloud Boat) and mixed by Charlie Hugall (Swim Deep, Florence And the Machine). Abandon is a bright and refreshing about-face from the roar and clamor that defined the group’s last record, the Flood-and-Alan Moulder helmed Belong. “I didn’t want to make Belonger,” Berman says. “This album was a chance to push beyond that album’s universal style of songwriting to something that was far more personal, more in keeping with my original ideals. I wanted the music to be joyful and full of light, even if the subjects were often dark.
Where their debut stuck to a monochrome playbook of indiepop classics and their follow up was a wide-eyed paean to the 90s titans of American rock, Abandon is the Pains at their most sonically and emotionally complete. “Eurydice” hurtles forward like something out of the early House of Love catalog, guitar arpeggios glinting like dew on morning grass. The song sounds as triumphant as it is tragic, detailing an unresolvable loss. “Massokissed” strolls with the ease and assurance of vintage Aztec Camera, though its twisted desire and mordant wit (“a constant aversion to forgo perversion / beat up covertly in places they can’t see”) tempers any sense that this love is not wrong. “Kelly” is one dizzy pirouette, matching both the grace and sugary melodies of prime Saint Etienne with hopes for a love that likes “filthy films and swill” and rejects “quotes as jokes and coke.” Like “Life After Life,” it’s sung by Jen Goma from A Sunny Day in Glasgow, and her bright, lively voice proves the perfect conduit for Berman’s pop savvy.
The record’s title — a nod toward Elena Ferrante’s celebrated 2002 novel – hints at both the freedom and the fear that comes with solitude. While The Pains of Being Pure at Heart has always been centered on Berman’s songwriting, the amicable departure of three bandmates since the release of Belong allowed for new opportunities for growth and collaborations. The soaring vocals of Jen Goma are featured prominently throughout and help deliver on the pop promise the band has long aspired to. Likewise, multi-instrumentalist Kelly Pratt’s (Beirut, David Byrne) horn arrangements on “Kelly,” “Simple and Sure,” “Life After Life” and “The Asp at My Chest” bring a newfound sophistication. No longer content to simply be “loud” or “soft,” Abandon is a record that revels in nuance and grace.
“I wanted the album to be powerful without being loud. Simply stepping on a fuzz pedal every 14 seconds felt like a crutch, though a pretty cool sounding crutch. I didn’t want to hide these songs behind walls of distortion or elaborate studio wizardry.” The result is a record that is as confident as it is cathartic.
“Music always says the things we can’t say in conversation. So it feels hopeless to say why these songs feel more honest and vivid to me. But for the first time in a while, I feel the same sense of possibility I felt when I started the band.”