The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart

The drape. The parka. The Crombie. Jackets of denim and leather. The satin blouson. The Harrington.

Inextricably entwined within the history of pop music there lies a secret: the story of the coat. There can be no rebellion, no broken barricades, no symbol of youth gone wild without an appropriate jacket. A jacket that says "Here I am and this is my tribe!"

The demise of the coat fills me with a fury normally reserved for fox hunting, human trafficking and The Weakest Link. Surely the whole thing has gone to hell in a handbasket as teens venture outside in their shirtsleeves, no matter the weather. Standing outside a club in a pair of hotpants and a hankerchief, arms and legs the colour of corned beef - it's not smart and it definitely isn't sexy. You cannot kick out the jams (motherfucker!) in a vest and only a decent bomber will soften the blow of a wildly flailed night stick. Our kids need coats and someone needs to do something about it.

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - you hope - at least understand the anorak.

Hey! Where the fuck are your jackets!

Just because something was the first, doesn't mean it was the best. An artist can hone an influence, take what's good and amplify it. Discard the fat. Ignore the stuff that maybe caused the originator to fall at a hurdle. Improve. So if there's nothing new about TPOBPAH, they split their time almost evenly between the the candy pop of early My Bloody Valentine ("This Love Is ...", "Everything With You") and the Rickenbacker jangle of every Sarah band, throwing in an extra couple of spoonfuls of Splenda, upping the sweetness without any of those nasty calories. "A wasted summer / With no drama / Think I'll stay inside."* What's not to like?

Things come temporarily off the rails with "A Teenager In Love" (which comes dangerously close to the inane bounce of Prefab Sprout) but by the time they close with the Automatic-era Mary Chain fuzz of "Gentle Sons", you've hopefully been won over by the sound of a band simply making the kind of music they love. It's really rather charming.

Oh baby it's cold outside. Zip it up. For God's sake, zip it up!

* I initially heard this as "A wasted summer / With no drummer / Think I'll stay inside" which is, I'm sure you'll agree, infinitely cuter.



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