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The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Beverly, Ablebody

  • High Noon Saloon 701 East Washington Avenue Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)
Photo by Ebru Yildiz.

Photo by Ebru Yildiz.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart’s eponymous 2009 debut album easily won me over. It was tastefully coated with lo-fi production, thoughtful lyrics, and deep nostalgia for golden-age shoegaze, 1980s college-pop, and the prettier side of early grunge. As the band, which is currently just vocalist-guitarist Kip Berman with a cast of hired hands, readies its upcoming fourth album The Echo Of Pleasure, its lead single “Anymore” suggests the project is becoming an overproduced, saccharine, and Muzak-ready take on its former self. Yeah, it’s just a single, but the watering down began with 2010’s Flood-produced and still-enjoyable Belong, and it now feels like all the edges have been trimmed. Gone are the clever production, the twisted lyrics of songs like “This Love Is Fucking Right,” and the charmingly understated vocal style Berman gave to the older tunes. But to be fair, plenty of great albums out there had disappointing lead singles, so let’s just see what happens. —Joel Shanahan