Quick Review (LP): Belong by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Belong
Slumberland; 2011

My Rating: B (70/100)

Best Tracks: "Belong", "Heaven’s Gonna Happen Now", "Anne with an E", "Strange"

Classic indie rock, a bit overcooked.

NOTES

  • I like the chunkiness of their sound. Sort of reminds me of The Inbreds.
  • Very John Hughes-ish. Is Breakfast Club Indie its own genre of music yet?
  • A very throwback sound – shades of late 80’s alt rock a la Pixies and The Cure.
  • Arrrrggghhh!!! The vocals!!! Why can’t dream-pop bands get brassy singers these days?
  • "The Body" reminds me of Afghan Whigs – the singer is channelling Greg Dulli there.
  • The songs are good, but none of them really GRAB me the way I would hope. Needs GREAT songs.
  • It all starts to blend together after a while.
  • The vocals leave a little something to be desired. This dude sounds like the guy from Def Leppard whispering. It is perhaps the lingering negative influence of otherwise great acts like My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus and Mary Chain.
  • Pitchfork is much nicer to it than I am. I think the band needs to lay off of the sweet sound so much, and try something with a little more cockiness, a little more swagger. I was hopeful that "Strange", with its driving opening rhythm, was going to launch into something like "Gouge Away", but it was really the same old thing. I hope Kip Berman can find his inner Black Francis next time around.

ATTRIBUTES
Cohesion (5/5)
Consistency (4/5)
Consequence (4/5)
Concept (4.5/5)
Songs (4/5)

Quick Review (LP): Idle Labor by Craft Spells

Craft Spells
Idle Labor
Captured Tracks; 2011

My Rating: B (66/100)

Best Tracks: "For The Ages", "Scandinavian Crush", "Party Talk", "After the Moment", "The Fog Rose High". "Beauty Above All"

Mumbly, innocent love songs for bedroom dreamers…

NOTES
– I will say the vocals are a lot easier to understand on this release than on others of this ilk. Thanks for that.
– Pretty pleasant stuff. Sounds like a kid from a John Hughes movie composing a bedroom project soundtrack to an autobiographical film about his freshman year.
– Wild Nothing is musically better, but I wish this guy sang for Wild Nothing. 
– If Wild Nothing is essentially a bedroom version of The Cure, then this is a bedroom version of Simple Minds.
– So when’s he going to get to the cover of "Take On Me"?
– More New Order than Joy Division. It’s a fun little record.
– Overall, not bad. It’s very "sound" based instead of song-based, and for that reason after about the fourth track the music easily slips into the background. Nothing amazing here, but it ain’t bad either.
The Pitchfork reviewer gets this record: “Idle Labor exists in a time frame best described by the title of its ebullient centerpiece– "After the Moment". These are sketches of romantic problems and solutions with the wounds still fresh and the thoughts uncensored. Taken as a whole, it could be read as a narrative following Vallesteros from heartbreak to infatuation and back, a few months’ worth of romantic uncertainty boiled down to a taut and hooky album.”

ATTRIBUTES
Concept (4/5)
Cohesion (5/5)
Consequence (3.5/5)
Consistency (4/5)
Songs (4/5)