AOTY 2021
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - The Echo of Pleasure
Critic Score
Based on 12 reviews
2017 Ratings: #738 / 898
User Score
Based on 49 ratings
Liked by 1 person
September 1, 2017 / Release Date
LP / Format
Painbow / Label
Indie Pop / Genres
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The album bursts with breezy and tight arrangements, meditative melodies, and beautifully poignant lyricism, making it a simultaneously boyish and mature exploration of love, longing and everything in-between.

The Skinny

This album doesn't alter the Pains sound so much as it doubles down on exactly what the band is all about.


It may not pack the same sonic punch as their early singles, but it has an overall more interesting sound, and the hard-won wisdom and feeling Berman injects into the songs now means that the Pains have transcended their struggles to find a sound, and have truly arrived at last.


Even with a relatively small amount of outside help, Berman’s songs are beefy, melodic throwbacks to college radio staples of decades past.


The matured thematic concerns and musical growth of Berman's band are impressive in isolation, but this record feels a bit out of sync with our current cultural climate.


In many ways, he’s a changed man on Pleasure: less concerned with the things he doesn’t have, more concerned with holding onto the things he does, or soon will. The ineffable combo of anxiety and joy that accompanies late-stage pregnancy is written directly into the DNA of these tunes.

Under The Radar

This is far from Berman's best work, but sequencing aside, there is enough here to suggest that he's still got something left in the tank.

God Is in the TV

With Berman as the central mastermind, and a well honed studio sound that harks back to the 1980s ‘The Echo Of Pleasure’ is an accurate and at times enjoyable listen, but one can’t help but hark back to The Pains of Being Pure at Heart line up from 2009 and that ramshackle raw, C-86 sound that so excited.

The 405

It is, at its best, painfully awkward to listen to. The gorgeous post-punk that was found on their previous albums has been replaced with shameful, hyper-produced 80s ripoffs.


The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s last offering really puts nuggets of their potential on display, but unfortunately, they’re not drawn to the forefront. As a result, we get a formulaic, forgettable and safe album that doesn’t feel like the best medium to say goodbye.
The Pains' sound is admittedly beginning to run thin at this point but they've still got a lot to offer here. Leaning heavily towards their 80s influences and withholding some of their syrupy sweetness are really the only real differences between this and their previous release. The melodies are infectious, the textures blissful, and the pleasures are more than an echo.
Blandly inoffensive.
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart's sound has been pigeonholed as 80's before, and that could still be true here, but they're no longer evoking the C86/indie pop 80's heyday. Now, the sound is closer to the mass-produced synth/electropop that gets labeled as 80's but is really just a part of the pop formula these days, for better and for worse. It means that while "The Echo of Pleasure" is competent and doesn't really do anything *wrong* per se, very little sticks or stands out -- the ... read more
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Added on: May 15, 2017