The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - Days of Abandon
Whereas both its predecessors put a heavy emphasis on distortion and feedback, 'Days of Abandon' lets the songs breathe and ultimately speak for themselves. Gone are most of the original band members and as a result so are the older style of arrangements. Instead, the ten pieces display an emotional fragility and insecurity that proves quite endearing. Now essentially a vehicle for songwriter Kip Berman (although long-time drummer Kurt Feldman also remains), 'Days Of Abandon' finds itself steeped in reference points borrowed from the Eighties. Fuelled by Berman's propensity for detailed storytelling of a sweet and sour nature, it manages to sound like neither of its predecessors while still retaining an identity reserved exclusively for The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. For example, opener 'Art Smock' takes the form of a lovelorn lament. Stripped down to just Berman and an acoustic guitar, its creator baring his soul for all to see (and hear). While not entirely representative of the album as a whole, it sets the scene for what follows, with any suggestions of this being Belong part 2 quickly dispelled. Recent single 'Simple and Sure' underlines Days of Abandon's pop sensibilities, its killer hook marrying insatiably with lyrics like "I'll never find anyone as absolutely right as I found you". Interestingly, the vocal contributions here from A Sunny Day In Glasgow's Jen Goma coincide with Days Of Abandon's best moments. Upbeat pop number 'Kelly' sounds like it could have been lifted off the soundtrack of The Breakfast Club, while the penultimate 'Life After Life' finds Goma's smooth tones comparable to those of Debbie Harry during Blondie's Parallel Lines heyday.