Release Date: Sep 1, 2017
Record label: Painbow
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
The Echo of Pleasure, the fourth LP by New York’s The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, is an exquisite—if also occasionally too familiar—entry into the modern landscape of retro synth pop. Led by the “big-hearted, idealistic” songwriting of frontman Kip Berman—and fleshed out by a variety of players and singers, plus producer Andy Savours—the album bursts with breezy and tight arrangements, meditative melodies, and beautifully poignant lyricism, making it a simultaneously boyish and mature exploration of love, longing and everything in-between. It was written and recorded around the hopes, uncertainties and time constraints related to the impending birth of Berman’s daughter.
While it may be inaccurate or even unfair to refer to the Pains of Being Pure at Heart as a “predictable” outfit, this much is true: they’re very good at what they do, and they follow a formula, albeit an intoxicating one that’s easy to love. The band, in the studio, is essentially Kip Berman with a small circle of musical guests (and a full band on tour). While Berman is American born-and-raised, his musical influences are most definitely from across the pond: virtually all the songs on The Echo of Pleasure, the latest album from the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, can be traced back to British ‘80s alternative rock.
A whole lot of life happened to the Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s Kip Berman in the run-up to his fourth LP, The Echo of Pleasure. He got married in 2014, shortly after the release of that year’s Days of Abandon. And much of Pleasure was recorded just at the onset of Berman’s wife’s third trimester, the point at which shit tends to get particularly real.
When The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart's self titled debut surfaced in 2008, it was hard to ignore a band with the balls to revive the sounds of the 80s. Conveying loose new wave, polished post-punk, and a hint of goth rock, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart sounded like a band that would've fit snuggly in the timeline of 80s greats such as The Cure, Echo & The Bunnymen, and New Order. And as most bands who attempt their shot at a "revival" fail miserably, Pains frontman - and the only consistent member - Kip Berman tackled the revivalist method with a direct and focused manner.