Highlights: Belong, Heart In Your Heartbreak, Too Tough
The idea of merging different, sometimes diametrically opposite genres into one must look appealing to those artists who aren’t capable of writing a truly impressive tune. They start looking for that stylistic something that can prove as brilliant and artistically successful as Jesus And The Mary Jane marrying The Velvet Underground with The Ronettes.
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart (I won’t even start discussing that name here) record disco-ish twee songs as played by Sonic Youth. The idea has neither spark nor originality, but they pull it off through sheer self-belief and superior quality of the material.
Belong is the band’s second album, and it’s the same thing they offered on their self-titled debut two years ago – only more polished and with somewhat better tunes. In fact, when the melody is good (“Belong”, “Heart In Your Heartbreak”) I can forgive them even such inescapable silliness as “she was the miss in your mistakes…” and stuff. The arrangements aim for some kind of lush, noisy gorgeousness this type of music demands. But it’s also good to hear those clever guitar lines and synths that keep beating and pulsating through this album. All very nice.
But with that said, I wouldn’t even dream of giving Belong anything higher than a light 7. I’m not a big fan of the kind of cotton-candy vocals this sort of music goes for. Plus, with the level of stylistic deviation approaching zero, this thing gets too monotonous halfway through. I’m actually okay with monotonous greatness – but monotonous pleasantness just ends up grating.