Guitar fuzz effects are so often used for grand vistas, or at least expansive atmospherics, that it comes as something of a shock when The Pains of Being Pure At Heart employ them on that oldest trick, pop music. The young New York band follows up their self-titled debut EP with their similarly first & eponymous LP. The results are catchy and refreshingly, if a little simple and one-note, but charming.
A frothy, high fuzz permeates The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, from the hook-laden strum of opener “Contender” to the slightly grand summing up at the end, “Gentle Sons”. Throughout the record, the band shines a bright smile, though sometimes it gets too sweet, and a little forgettable. But then there are tracks like “Stay Alive” and “Hey Paul”, which lay a real sense of purpose behind the melody and effects, and, at those points, The Pains transcends its natural limitations.
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart are not the first band to break the Anglo-Canadian grand stranglehold on fuzz. Big Apple brethren on their first record like Crystal Stilts (QRO review), caUSE co-MOTION! (QRO review), and Vivian Girls (QRO review) use their effects to revive and update fifties garage rock, and there is something old-timey about the sunnier climes to The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, making for a refreshingly modern and un-modern record.