Monday, June 15

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

. Monday, June 15


2009 is officially the year of the eighties revival. In the pop charts it's all electro pop (La Roux, Little Boots) and Madonna style schlock (Lady GaGa) whilst in the alternative camp we're having a full scale revival of shoegaze/ C86 courtesy of The Horrors and various American acts such as Crystal Stilts, School of Seven Bells and tonight's headliners The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart.

On record The Pains... are reminiscent of acts such as The Shop Assistants and The Pastels, indie pop with a fey, almost twee, sensibility. So it's a surprise when they take to the stage tonight and songs such as 'Young Adult Friction' take on a more aggressive and jagged approach, the introduction of a touring guitarist to the fray certainly lifts the live experience to a higher degree of intensity than the bands self titled debut album. Similarly unexpected is the limited role keyboard player and vocalist Peggy Wang plays. Throughout the bands recorded output her honeyed vocals drip from every hook but tonight she is reserved and quiet, sitting anonymously behind her Brooklyn bangs. This however gives Kip Berman free rein to attack the songs with a refreshing sense of vim and vigour. Playing much of their catchier material in the opening section they rattle through 'This Love Is Fucking Right', 'Come Saturday' and 'Everything With You' in the blink of an eye. The second half of the performance is a more elongated and patience testing affair. Playing a slew of mid paced songs is all well and good but a better balanced setlist might have seen the gig ebb and flow nicely rather than feeling like hitting the sand after coming down a hill on rollerskates. This imbalance is easily remedied however and The Pains... mix of material hints at the prospects of a wonderful show when small things like that are ironed out- another six months touring will be an important learning curve for the band.

It might be nostalgic and anyone who remembers the original roster of acts on Postcard Records may well scoff at tonight's show but to people just discovering the treats of twenty years ago The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart are a vital and romantic part of the present whilst simultaneously opening doors to the past.

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