The Brooklyn-based indie pop group has never been shy about showing their influences. But can they do those influences justice?
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have always worn their influences proudly, but that doesn’t make the Hell EP any less of a confusing release. Where the band’s past EPs features non-album tracks that stood toe-to-toe with any of their singles, this only has one original composition (the title track, a dance-y number done in by Kip Berman’s quivering voice and poorly-mixed backing vocals) and two covers that point to the band’s influences. They fare reasonably well on Felt’s “Ballad of the Band", which they put their own stamp on. However, their take on James’ “Laid” sounds like the outtake of a less-religious Sixpence None the Richer song. As far as meaningless stopgap releases go, this is fine, but it’s hard to digest when you know that Pains are capable of so much more.