The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart’s Higher Than The Stars EP is an energetic 12 minutes of music, not counting the mostly-good ambient melancholic revamp of the title track. The energy is what makes this a good EP to listen to when you’re in the mood for the kind of “enthusiastic, life-affirming pop” that inspired these four in their musical direction.
The track most representative of this energy has to be the title track. The group’s simple, thick textures are largely driven by Peggy Wang’s synth/arpeggiator. Around 2 minutes in is the most catchy pop pay off on the album. (You can’t think straight, because you’re not straight, in the back of your mother’s car.)
103 carries the same tempo and chokes the space with fuzz overdrive while Kip quietly pleads with his self-destructive subject. This strong could have been stronger with more restraint on the fuzz i.e. not drowning out the rest of the band, the song loses clarity with the short respite that is given.
Falling Over is the sweetest of the four songs with clean Johnny Marr-esque guitars strumming insistent rhythms balanced by warm synth. Naidus’ bass plays between single note rhythms and more melodic playing, giving it some good contrast.
Twins gets the fuzz balance in a better mix than 103 with a lead guitar melody. While the slower tempo of Falling Over makes this the best song to end the EP on, particularly on the line “Everything is good as gone”.
Lyrically speaking Twins and Higher Than The Stars are the strongest and feel the most personal. The former being stained with regret and the latter having a sense of being close to the secret being hinted at. In short they feel more like stories.
103 and Falling Over are lyrically less coherent and occasionally feel like they settled for a satisfying rhyme (It’s not a matter of letting go, it’s a matter of vertigo) where more thoughtful consideration could transcend indie-vague.
All in all, the Higher Than The Stars EP is a short burst of energetic indie-pop. It’s catchy, has good intentions and hopefully the energy they bring will make increasingly personal music that begins to define their own sound.