The Brooklyn-based group made its debut in 2007 when it released its debut self-titled EP. The album peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, and ever since, the band has continued to make progress with the release of its second album, Belong.
Although a band’s sophomore album can be the kiss of death, Belong is the opposite, proving Pains has improved its sound while still keeping its characteristic style.
This 10-track album blends memorable lyrics with dreamy vocals. Not a single track pales in comparison to the others, as Pains was so deliberate in the songwriting and production that the album’s release date actually had to be postponed.
Though there are no weak songs, some still stand out more than others. The track that stands out as the catchiest is “Heart in Your Heartbreak.” Released as the band’s first single in December, the song quickly garnered attention and caused increased anticipation for the band’s sophomore album.
With moving lyrics such as, She was the heart in your heartbreak / She was the miss in your mistake / And no matter what you take / You’re never going to forget, Kip Berman elicits emotions of lost love and evokes heartache in the listeners.
In contrast, the first track of the album, “Belong,” sets the coed quartet in a sea of distorted guitars and droning melodies. The distorted guitar’s explosive sound, about 15 seconds into the track, shows Pains is eager to shows growth and development during the last two years.
The entire album is laced with lyrics of teenage angst and heartache, which can be heard especially in tracks like “Even in Dreams” and “Anne with an E.” Both closely resemble love songs and mix quiet verses with sing-along choruses.
It is easy to hear a change in the band’s production, even though it has not strayed from its 1990s vibe. Pains has moved away from its fuzzy-noise pop-sound and toward a more mature one. The emotional combination of harsh lyrics and wistful vocals creates feelings of heartache while simultaneously conjuring a need to dance and feel good.
But don’t be fooled: The band did not do it alone.
To help bring the new tunes to life, Pains enlisted the help of producer Flood and ace mixer Alan Moulder. These two music geniuses have worked with numerous successful artists including U2, My Bloody Valentine, Smashing Pumpkins and P.J. Harvey.
The partnership between the band and its new production team is exemplified in “Belong,” with the original Pains sound becoming bolder, louder and more confident.
Pains has had a busy year with the production and release of its sophomore album, but the band is not wasting any time before beginning to tour. Pains recently played at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas and will continue to tour from the end of March through the beginning of May.