My favorite album of 2009 up to this point is by far The Pains of Being Pure at Heart by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. This record is a pop rock gem which is as if The Cure and The Smiths got into a fight with My Bloody Valentine at a Weezer show. The songs are melodic and beautiful with a distinct sound.
But something feels missing. While I absolutely can’t get enough of TPOBPAH, something sets them apart from The Cure and The Smiths. Those bands each had an iconic lead singer in Robert Smith and Steven P. Morrissey. Something can be said for the lead singer that seems so lost in music today. They gave the songs a voice. TPOBPAH have incredible vocal melodies, but they don’t seem like they’re coming from anywhere special. It’s more like another instrument getting lost in the mix. Aside from Johnny Marr’s jangly guitar, The Smiths succeeded because Morrissey gave his songs voice. They were coming from that big sardonic head of his.
Yes you will argue that this is what TPOBPAH wants. This is their sound and this is why I like it. I am not denying that. I guess I’m just pining for the days of the lead singer. I can’t even think of one bravura lead singer these days besides Matt Berninger from The National.
Either way, do yourself a favor. If you want to smile, pick up The Pains of Being Pure At Heart.