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Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart live in Milford CT

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
With Twin Shadow
Daniel Street, Milford CT
Monday, May 2nd
With two full-length albums under their belt, an appearance at Coachella earlier this year and a successful U.S. tour that wraps up May 6th with a sold-out show at New York’s Webster Hall, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have all but solidified their place in the indie mainstream - an odd contradiction, to be sure. So while Milford’s Daniel Street seemed an unlikely destination for a band with such burgeoning credentials, the underrated Connecticut venue provided a unique opportunity for an intimate evening with The Pains and an enthusiastic legion of local fans.

Appearing as a five-piece following the addition of guitarist Christoph Hocheim, The Pains’ live performance largely eschewed excessive bombast and theatrics in favor of sharply-written and arranged shoegaze-inspired songs awash with passion and an understated intensity. The band’s romantic, major chord-driven melancholic pop retained the low-key yet dramatic sensibilities of their recent records, with singer Kip Berman’s gentle, whispered vocals proving the perfect counterpoint to dense, fuzz drenched guitars and synthesizer hooks.
The band’s 13-song set was almost evenly divided between their first and second albums, as early singles “Teenager in Love” and “Come Saturday” brimmed with an indelible youthful energy. But The Pains were especially engaged and confident on songs from their recently-released album Belong. The synth-driven dream pop of “The Body,” the Ride-influenced “Heaven’s Gonna Happen Now” and the album’s dynamic title track easily stood as highlights of the evening and demonstrated a marked evolution in the group’s skills as composers and performers. The band presented a balanced, vibrant sound throughout the hour-long set, although Peggy Wang’s synthesizer and backing vocals occasionally sat a little too low in the mix.
Even in a relatively smaller venue, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart seemed to derive immense satisfaction simply from performing their songs and being amongst their ardent fans. And if the band’s performance was any indication, opportunities to be this up close and personal will be few and far between in the years to come.
Flashing an unqualified love for 80s-inspired post-punk, Brooklyn’s Twin Shadow opened with an impressive set of haunting yet danceable tunes from their debut album Forget. Favoring a darker, more hypnotic cadence than their tourmates, the band conjured up memories of The Chameleons and New Order through the spellbinding “Yellow Balloon” and “Castles in the Snow.” While frontman George Lewis Jr. occasionally overpowered the mix on several louder vocal passages, his charisma and shimmering guitar work contrasted nicely with the musical textures of his shadowy, subdued bandmates.

Review by Jared Savas

This Love Is Fucking Right!
A Teenager In Love
Heart In Your Heartbreak
The Body
Heaven’s Gonna Happen Now
Stay Alive
My Terrible Friend
Come Saturday
Young Adult Friction
Everything With You

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