7 May 2014
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart "Days of Abandon"
Reviewed by Elizabeth Klisiewicz
Fans of "Belong", don’t despair that the band’s lineup has changed. While the group has dialed down the shoegaze element, "Days of Abandon" (the title comes from Elena Ferrante’s celebrated 2002 novel) is dreamy and lush and filled with the best sort of pop music you’ll never hear on commercial radio. Maybe you could also call it chamber pop, due to the presence of horns and strings. At first listen, I was reminded most of The Smiths, and my opinion hasn’t changed on that. The stellar melodies and boy-girl vocal interactions also hints of early Stars ("Simple and Sure"). But those are only starting points to launch you into this rather lovely confection.
My favorite tune is predictably "Until the Sun Explodes", which sounds the most like their material on "Belong", but there is also the gorgeous "The Asp at My Chest", which rolls along gently with swells of organ and the grand addition of brass. You can drop the needle or skip forward anywhere, and you’ll be treated to blissful tunes swollen with melody and melancholy. Really, you can’t miss with anything here. With help from multi-instrumentalist Kelly Pratt on horn arrangements and Jen Goma from A Sunny Day in Glasgow on vocals ("Life After Life"), Kip Berman is well equipped to move forward musically.
Vinyl available here, CD here.