The Pains of Being Pure at Heart @ Siren

I can totally see what The Pains of Being Pure at Heart is trying for with its music, and I don’t even mind listening to it that much, but something about their live set just sat wrong with it. It probably had something to do with the way their nostalgic, ’80s-tinged dream pop is constructed. On guitar, almost every song involved the placement of a capo on one of the first four frets and strumming of open chords throughout the duration. Now, I love open chords and I love capos, but with an instrument as versatile as an electric guitar, the band needs to at least vary things up a little bit. It was like the capo was a last-ditch effort to switch the pitch of songs that would be shockingly similar otherwise, and it didn’t even work that well. The songs quickly bled together, all starting with dreamy, reverberated downstrokes. Kip Berman’s vocals, while evoking that nostalgic mood pretty well, also don’t change much from track to track.

It led to a set that was put together nicely — again, it wasn’t like the songs were particularly challenging, though — but bled into one big sea of sound. And the fact that the music was autumnal on one of the hottest days of the year (read: ever) didn’t help too much.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – “Everything With You” [MP3]

More photos after the jump.

[All photos by James B. Hale/Knox Road from Siren Music Festival]

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