Gig Reviews

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Oxford Art Factory – Sunday, 21st February 2010

I don’t know if The Pains of Being Pure at Heart being an obscure band is a good or a bad thing. Selfishly, I like being able to enjoy a band without being squashed in a sweaty pit of fans. On the other hand, I find it a bit of a shame that a band like Pains can play one show in Sydney and not even sell out. Their nonchalant brand of twee and distinctive name make it easy to like them.

At first, I found it really hard to describe their sound. Twee pop eventually emerged as the genre through their combination of amusingly suggestive lyrics with soft-reverb, distortion and synth. The Brooklyn band played songs such as ‘Young Adult Friction’, ‘Come Saturday’ and ‘This Love is Fucking Right’ which talk about love and lust in the most creative ways, including a liaison in a library and a request to “perhaps undress for me”. However, just a glance at lead singer Kip Berman and keyboardist Peggy Wang in their preppy clothes and you wonder how such adorable innocents got such naughty ideas…

The show was comfortable and fun. Pains played some more favourites including the blissful ‘Higher than the Stars’, although some were disappointed that they left ‘Contender’ off the set-list. They finished off with a couple of new songs and left the audience going home feeling happy and young. As one audience member commented when leaving the venue, “it makes me wish I was a teenager again”. Formed in 2007, Pains are a young band and hopefully more people will have an opportunity to discover and share the love.

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