Welcome back, Kip Berman. Highly anticipated, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart’s fourth studio album is finally here and will be the ideal companion for these last weeks of summer. When days get shorter and that summer thrill progressively vanishes, leaving the scene to chilly mornings and more sporadic rays of sunlight. Despite the time of the year, notoriously slightly melancholic, ‘The Echo Of Pleasure’ is an album that finds itself soaked in a peaceful state of mind. It talks us through life, love and all that comes out of that box, and it does so showcasing enjoyable melodies and delicate arrangements. It’s a mature record, new chapter of a story that started more than ten years ago just for… fun.
Time goes by, people change, and there’s nothing you can do about that. Kip, now a happy father, has followed up to 2014’s ‘Days Of Abandon’ making the choice of writing about that delicate process of prioritising life over career. Not to mention that life-long path through learning and growing up as a human being. Here are nine tracks full of special moments, enjoyable indie pop with hints of shoegaze and dreamy moments that will keep you company for 40 minutes or so.
Let’s start from the beginning. ‘My Only’, the last single launched a couple of weeks before the official release, starts the journey and is the ideal summary of what The Pains have been up to in the last couple of years. It’s a song about love, that draws immediate comparisons to the sweetest side of The Jesus And Mary Chain, although standing out as a typical Pains’ concentrate of synths, delicate choruses and a catchy rhythmic section. The first part of the full-length flows quietly, with the infectious ‘Anymore’ and the declaration of love ‘When I Dance With You’ that stand out besides ‘The Garret’.
The backbone of ‘The Echo Of Pleasure’, sits – as said – on a sentiment that reflects Berman’s current state of mind. “To me, ‘The Echo Of Pleasure’ is the near-symmetry of love. It’s the reflection back and forth, modulating over time, of two people who are together. – Kip told us a couple of months ago (here the full interview) – “It’s not a mirror – but a perpetual answering and asking. When one person is absent that echo ceases or, as I sing on the song itself, ‘fades into these silent days’. In that sense, remembering is a kind of echo, each instance slightly less vivid than the one before.”
Other chapters worth a mention are the uplifting ‘Falling Apart So Slow’ and ‘So True’, whilst the slow final track ‘Stay’ sounds like a promise, if not a further statement to the loved ones. Piano notes merge with the acoustic guitar, in a spacious soundscape.
Berman’s last line – “Could this be the end of an endless night?” – might sound like a testament. The frontman recently said this might be the last album under the moniker of The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. He will focus more on his private life and that miracle called fatherhood, from now on. Fair enough, we will be waiting for him, sure he’ll be back at some point.
Painbow | 2017
Tracklist & Stream