The Pains of Being Pure at Heart was born about 20 years too late. The group’s jangly dream-pop instantly sucks you back into the reverb-washed haze of the late ’80s and early ’90s.
It’s no surprise, then, that the band enlisted Mark Ellis, often credited with creating the alternative crunch of groups like Smashing Pumpkins and Nine Inch Nails, to produce its latest work.
From a production standpoint, Belong is a marvelous work. The cavernous wall of sound of the Pains’ first work has been replaced by a crisp, sparkling barrier here. This is how this band should always sound.
The songwriting is not necessarily as strong as it once was, and though the duds are few, they are definitely there. The better tracks make up for those, though. Check out the brutal opener, “Belong,” and the painfully-twee “Heart in Your Heartbreak.”
Grab your expensive headphones and get lost in the nostalgia.