The Pains Of Being Pure at Heart @ Cargo 10/06/09

June 17, 2009 by  

pains of being

With eighties tinged electro pop going mainstream this year, thanks largely to the diminutive Little Boots and Co. The underground has seemingly lost it’s soundtrack. However, since late last year a new fuzzy sound has been coming out of New York, courtesy of Crystal Stilts and The Vivian Girls. This troupe of bands have also been drawing heavily from the 80s for their influences, but this time round from the fuzz of Shoegaze and C86. At the forefront of the scene are The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Having done the rounds of the Eastend pub circuit, it was time to take a leap forward and headline their biggest U.K show to date at Cargo.

Despite the RMT union’s best efforts to thwart gig goers travel plans, the venue was still bursting at the seems with fans eager to catch a glimpse of the next buzz band. If you haven’t guessed or heard already the band are renowned for their twee pop sound, which on paper can lead to a flat performance. To counteract this, they have added an extra guitarist to beef up their sound and it works. The performance is more intense and vital, but the usual focal point of the band, Penny Wang’s and Kip Berman’s honeyed vocal harmonies, still lack immediacy for the unfamiliar listener. With either singer being hardly renowned for their charisma, it falls upon Kurt’s frantic drumming to counteract the dead pan expressions on stage and inject some much needed energy into the performance.

Amongst all the seemingly listless material that largely fills the second half of the set, the catchier and more direct material of ‘Young Adult Friction’ and ‘This Love Is Fucking Right’, show great promise in a set which has clearly yet to be refined. Still lacking enough stage presence to shift them into the compelling, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart still have a long way to go, but come the end of the festival season they could leading the way, in an albeit backward looking movement.

By Chris Cummins


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