CD Review: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Belong (Slumberland/Collective Sounds)

On their self-titled 2009 debut, Brooklyn indie-poppers the Pains of Being Pure at Heart were all cutesy and twee. Their second album kicks off with a blast of retro fuzz that sounds like prime Smashing Pumpkins, and it doesn't let up. Produced and mixed, respectively, by Flood and Alan Moulder (whose credits include My Bloody Valentine and, yep, Smashing Pumpkins), Belong blows in like a sonic storm that sets the coed quartet in a sea of distorted guitars and droning melodies. There are still plenty of hooks here ("Belong," "Heart in Your Heartbreak"), but the emphasis is on filling the spaces with chunks of aural debris. It still sounds like a gust of amp feedback could knock singer Kip Berman on his ass, but he's got backup in this sturdy and terrific set of songs. — Gallucci