The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

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Blank Generation Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Thursday, May 21st, 2009

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart at The Cockpit, Leeds

Float back on a wave of twee that surrounds The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and one could be in Leeds's famed Duchess or The Thekla in Bristol back at the start of the 1990s.

The New York band who play a set of St.Christopher or Field Mice inspired tunes pushed through more RAT pedals than My Bloody Valentine would find acceptable are a beguiling bunch. They beef up the sound with an extra guitarist and fuzz through most of the tracks from the d├ębut eponymous album.

As far as a band who make a sound from distortion it is note perfect but therein is the problem. Live they reproduce superbly but they add nothing new.

Not that this is always a bad thing and not that it is bad this evening but my mind that drifted before drifts back to last year and Vampire Weekend at this venue. Both bands are New Yorkers and both bands owe a chunk of thier sound to pilfering twenty years past. Like Vampire Weekend it is difficult to see where The Pains of Being Pure at Heart go next. The new song they try out sounds as if it could have been cut from the current album and oldie Kurt Cobain's Cardigan has not dated in their catalogue.

Like a great impressionist they, and Vampire Weekend, are yoked to the rise and fall of that from which they take inspiration. If twee fuzz up pop/doing The Strokes in a Paul Simon stylee falls from favour then the band fall from grace.

Nevertheless The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are, for the moment, very graceful. They encore with Hey Paul which along with Young Adult Friction stand out from a near perfect set and perhaps if a band takes inspiration from Sarah Records then so can I and suggest that the future for this band is irrelevant on a night of the less than pure pop being played to perfection.