Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. They’re sensitive and sublime.
  2. Muffling their excellent knowledge of English in jangle and reverb, four theoretical nerds demonstrate why a band is better than grad school.
  3. There is something distinctly perfect about the naivety that the Pains of Being Pure at Heart seem to effortlessly inject into every bouncy ballad of young love and young living that makes their self-titled debut not only a welcome throwback but a much needed vacation from over-calculation.
  4. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart can easily be at the forefront of this scene because, simply put, they have the best hooks.
  5. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart simply made a slyly confident debut that mixes sparkling melodies with an undercurrent of sad bastard mopery.
  6. The album’s accompanying trappings do little to dull its impressiveness or the band’s command of its lineage.
  7. They’re simply better songwriters than many others in the field, and their ability to recontextualize these sounds into something so subsequently fresh and familiar is a stunning achievement.
  8. Pure indie-pop to hold close to your heart.
  9. 80
    The shimmering dream pop of the band’s debut is surprisingly accomplished and self-assured, a rare shoegaze-styled album that isn’t hellbent on aping the genre’s luminaries.
  10. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart have crafted an impeccable debut way beyond their years, and any misconceptions about them being mere revivalists of a scene only their elders could recall at first hand will surely be diminished instantaneously upon hearing this most accomplished of long players.
  11. For a band noted for their precious aesthetics, their secretly aggressive riffs and jabbing zings are the most essential facets to their authenticity.
  12. Everything sounds vaguely familiar, but rarely has it been done with such pristine confidence.
  13. A little more variation from song to song, a little more of their own sound, or another song or two as compelling as the best stuff here and the POBPAH's debut would have been classic. Settling for impressive is fair enough and good enough for fans of loud, fuzzy, and heartfelt indie noise pop.
  14. With such impeccable taste, it's just as hard to ignore what an irresistible cocktail it is. [Winter 2009, p.74]
  15. Unless you demand pure, cutting-edge originality out of your pop music, this is a solid debut effort.
  16. This quartet's exciting debut is a dark bodice-ripper for the buttoned-up-cardigan set.
  17. All told it's a slightly patchy album, but one which is nonetheless saved by a couple of pop gems.
  18. These kinds of shameless retro-isms would usually be cause for a scathing review. But as much as we’d like to snub their lack of originality, it’s hard to deny that the Pains do what they’ve set out to do quite well.
  19. Anyone convinced that the C86 bands represent a nadir of tweeness will hate it--while anyone who thinks that Britpop and dance music ruined indie will fall hopelessly in love.
  20. 60
    Their sound is an accident born of naivety, but their unabashed love for '80s indie is unmistakeable. [Feb 2009, p.89]
  21. 60
    Hugely enjoyable, with nagging tunes too, but let's move forward next time. [Mar 2009, p.106]
  22. Crafting a "singular" sound is as idealistic as the next musical virtue, but this album--the band’s debut--is glaringly commonplace.
  23. It is a love song to the bands they grew up on, at times purely imitation as flattery, and, in those modest goals, it succeeds.
User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 30 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Nov 28, 2012
    7
    The Pains of Being Pure At Heart is an indie pop gem. Each track is incredibly catchy and surprisingly has some very deep depth to them. AllThe Pains of Being Pure At Heart is an indie pop gem. Each track is incredibly catchy and surprisingly has some very deep depth to them. All In All, this isn't the pop record to end all pop records, but it surely is a well-written, indie rock record that shouldn't go missed. B Full Review »
  2. Mar 13, 2012
    8
    They have a pretty original name but the same can't be said of the tunes. That's not necessarily a bad thing though. Like you'll see in mostThey have a pretty original name but the same can't be said of the tunes. That's not necessarily a bad thing though. Like you'll see in most reviews of this band, these guys are obviously big 80's early 90's indie fans. The influence of The Smiths and My Bloody Valentine is prominent. The guitar playing is reasonably simple and the vocals aren't great - really low, but there is something about this album that I really like that I can't quite put my finger on. It's far from a classic but it's not got any bad tracks on it, its full of upbeat indie pop and it. The singles Hey Paul and Everything With You kind of embody everything about this record so if your looking for a taster before you dive in check those out. Full Review »
  3. Jun 18, 2011
    9
    Being 18, I obviously never got a chance to actually live through the 80's. However, 80's pop culture references are always around, theBeing 18, I obviously never got a chance to actually live through the 80's. However, 80's pop culture references are always around, the references that state that the music was such better then, and with glam metal being existent during that era, I can't agree. However, there were bands like the Smiths, the Jesus and Mary Chain and so much more great indie bands. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, remind people who were able to lived through the 80's that there WAS actually some great music, and it makes people like ME, realize that same thing. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, noisy, and innocent sound work so perfectly here that it's almost impossible to not love this album, with it's straight forwards lyrics and sound. My Terrible Friend and Heart of Your Heartbreak are the two best tracks here, accompanied by a handful of other solid songs. Great album, great debut. Haven't listened to their sophomore effort yet, and I can only hope that they built towards their own identity, but still having the ability to help some of those relive the highlights of the 80's. Full Review »