On their new seven-inch, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart continue to progress away from the early My Bloody Valentine fuzz of their self-titled debut. On these two new songs, the group sounds much more cleanly produced than ever before, now recalling the Cure, Psychedelic Furs and Modern English. Basically, they’re still indebted to the ’80s, only this time they’re a bit more on the John Hughes side.
“Say No to Love” is a little jarring upon the first listen. Frontman Kip Berman sounds markedly different from previous recordings, a bit deeper, but the song is still pretty cute. With music this chipper, “cute” is the only word needed, even if the chorus is the title. B-side “Lost Saint” is a little bit slower, which is the real departure for the band. It savors the mood more.
Given that it’s just a seven-inch, it’s hard to say if Say No to Love marks the Pains’ new sound or not. As produced, the songs wouldn’t have fit on Pains or Higher Than the Stars. Whether or not this is the point where the Pains start to get slicker and duller won’t be revealed until LP #2.