These are the ‘Pains of Being Pure at Heart’

Pains of Being Pure at Heart
“Pains of Being Pure at Heart”
4 stars out of 5

Using some of the best elements of ’80s indie rock as a blueprint, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart have crafted a debut LP that has become a surprise entrant into 2009’s sweepstakes for Most Buzzed About Indie Record.

The band overcame its cumbersome moniker with a blissfully enjoyable 10-song album, one that ends almost as quickly as its pulsating sound starts. Comparisons to ’80s standards like The Smiths, My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus and Mary Chain are unavoidable, though the vibrant melodies of this foursome are enough to evade the status of a cut-and-paste act.The guitars are high and chiming, but feature enough distortion and reverb to make their influences proud.

All things considered, this may be the best ’80s indie rock record that didn’t come out of the decade, though time will tell if the band will endure past their initial acclaim.

Key Tracks: “Come Saturday,” “Young Adult Friction,” “The Tenure Itch”

Morrissey
“Years of Refusal”
4 stars out of 5

Morrissey has been Britain’s finest lyrical satirist for 25 years now, and at age 49, his wit hasn’t lost much of its edge. Coming three years after his last record, “Years of Refusal” is a hard-rocking collection of songs that satirizes life, love, society and being middle-aged.

That last subject is a new one for Morrissey, and “Years” finds the former Smiths frontman acknowledging his age. He also treads familiar territory, proclaiming his suspicion of love and intimacy.

“There are worse things in life than never being someone’s sweetie,” he explains in the bitter “That’s How People Grow Up.”

His backing band fleshes out his anger when they need to, but fits nicely into the various Morrissey molds, crafting some excellent self-pitying ballads as well. The album is surprisingly consistent and energetic. Every track offers something that is both fresh and exciting, and also vintage Morrissey. This is an album from a songwriter who refuses to let his years get him down and plans to keep it going for years to come.

Key Tracks: “I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris,” “Something Is Squeezing My Skull”