When Kip Berman and his Pains of Being Pure at Heart came up out of, where else?, Brooklyn, the sound slotted into the eighties John Hughes soundtrack-revival – OMD (QRO live review) for our times. After a self-titled EP & LP (QRO review), it hit its peak with Belong (QRO review), which very much did, whether you remember the eighties or not. After some line-up changes, Berman changes his sound a bit as well on Days of Abandon, for a sweet fuzz that’s nice, but isn’t as remarkable as before.
From soft intro “Art Smock” on, Abandon is a decidedly sweet and fuzzy record that can make you feel warm, but only occasionally does it do more than that. The record is best when Berman goes bigger and bolder, such as on “Eurydice” and “Until the Sun Explodes”, but other pieces get lost in the fuzz. The bop to “Simple and Sure” and “Kelly” definitely works, but it’s not ultra-inspired in today’s stuffed, sweet scene. The same could be said for closer “The Asp at My Chest”, a tilt towards alt-folk collective that’s a nice change, but there are also a lot of alt-folk collectives out there these days.
In the preceding “Life After Life”, Pains shift a bit even further back, to sunnier seventies pop, a sound that could have been explored more on Abandon. After self-titled introductions and the statement that was Belong, it was only natural for Berman to take a step back, into the sweet fuzz.