Belong – The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (2011, Slumberland Records, Taken from ‘Belong’) – released on pink vinyl
I’m driving home from a gig in Totnes, I have two passengers in the car, one is quite drunk, the other I suspect is very nearly drunk. The front seat passenger (The drunk one) is on DJ duties. This involves him putting on CDs and turning the volume up to an annoyingly loud level. It’s been a great evening. The CD of choice, is ‘Belong’ the excellent second album from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, which has been selected ahead of ‘Kid A’ by Radiohead, and ‘Chunk of Change’ by Passion Pit – both of which are in the glove box.
The National Anthem – Radiohead (2007, XL Records, Taken from ‘Kid A’)
Sleepyhead – Passion Pit (2008, French Kiss Records, Taken from ‘Chunk of Change’)
Did I mention that it’s absolutely pissing down as well and for a lot of the journey, pitch black, due to a mixture of there being no street lights and a sky so black that it looks like the world is ending (it’s actually the tail end of Storm Desmond or something).
In about five minutes we have to cross Shinners Bridge, an ancient old road bridge that takes traffic over the River Dart. It is long, a bit twisty and narrow, flanked either side by a heavy stone wall. It is traffic light controlled – meaning that you have to wait for the other traffic to come over before you can cross. When I arrive on the bridge the traffic lights are on green so I pass on over the bridge.
The mood is very jovial.
That is until we see the flashing lights coming the other way along the bridge.
Now…firstly not those sort of flashing lights, these were orange not, blue. “He’ll have to stop and reverse” shouts one of my passengers. Its then we realise the second thing. The orange lights are a breakdown lorry and it’s towing a double decker bus, over a narrow bridge and it’s coming straight at us. There is no way this vehicle can reverse along an old bridge. Why it decided to come across the road on a red light we will ignore for the minute.
“I’ll have to reverse” I say. I hate reversing. I’m rubbish at it. I hit hedges, kerbs, elderly people all the time (well maybe not the last one). I hit the brakes and stick it in reverse. Now, my car isn’t fancy, but it does have a reverse sensor that beeps when you get close to something. Sadly for me, the sensor is a bit temperamental and it beeps every five seconds. I can’t see a bloody thing, my back window is all steamed up, the person in the rear view is about seven foot tall all of a sudden and no matter where he sits his hair seems in the way. I opened the window and stick my head out and slowly edge back as the bus monster thing gets closer, as the beeps gets more bloody annoying.
Suddenly another louder beep goes off in my car, the drunk front seat passenger has opened the bloody door. “I’ll see you back” he slurs excitedly and tries to get out of the car, before remembering he has a seatbelt on. I tell him to shut the bloody door. I edge back, I keep seeing lights behind me and hope to dear god that nothing comes across the bridge the same way – its about midnight so the road isn’t busy. It takes me about ten minutes to reverse about 100 metres, what with it being dark, pouring down and my sensor beeping like a prewatershed episode of The Sopranos. The road widens, and I physically exhale. The breakdown lorry comes past – the driver roars past, the front of the towed bus, passes far closer to my car than it needs to. The breakdown lorry driver didn’t even thank me.
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart apparently got their name by throwing a load of words at a fridge when they were teenagers. It was and remains one of the worst names in the history of music. Pushing that to one side, they were tremendous though, and their love for releasing records on various colours of vinyl always made me smile.
The bands first album was a lofi fuzzy masterpiece, that harked back to the glory days of shoegaze. The band ably channelled their inner My Bloody Valentine and sounded at time exactly like the sort of record that Sarah Records would have put out in the early nineties.
Young Adult Friction – The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (2009, Slumberland Records, Taken from ‘The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’) – which was released on a maroon/white swirl coloured vinyl.