The Pains of Being Pure at Heart at Rough Trade East
Though the bank holiday downpour turning Brick Lane into a small river is quintessentially British, New York’s The Pains of Being Pure at Heart remain a perfect fit with the interior of Rough Trade East, shrine to early indie that it is. Right from opener Until the Sun Explodes (sounding like The Cure’s Friday I’m in Love kicked into overdrive), they set out to sear the damp out of both the surrounding vinyl sleeves and the assembled audience at this free lunchtime gig.
Band members have come to shuffle of late in support of frontman and songwriter Kip Berman. The line-up today is the one that played Reading Festival last night, featuring Jess Weiss of Brighton’s Fear of Men (who have joined The Pains on tour) on keyboards and vocals, Jacob Sloan on bass and vocals, and Hochheim brothers Anton and Christoph on drums and guitar respectively. This bunch is certainly capable of setting a festival field a-jangling.
While powerful, it’s a sound not entirely original in its style, which is knowingly reminiscent of the sort of bands which would have hung around the early Rough Trade in Ladbroke Grove about 30 years ago. There is originality at the heart of this sound however as Berman’s melodic vocals draw from an exceptionally good line in beautifully longing lyrics. Though we’re in a record shop, stadium-filling drama ensues with highlights like Kelly (“I miss you in the morning holding on to fading dreams I could never believe”), and Life after Life, which both place Weiss’s vocals prominently with particularly entrancing results.
While hints at The Pains strong back catalogue are granted through songs like closing number You are the Sea, the bulk of the set is taken from latest LP Days of Abandon. On the strength of this performance, this tour will fulfil its mission to encourage people to seek the record out.
For further information about The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Until the Sun Explodes here: