It’s been a superb year for Slumberland Records. The resurgent label has put out so many great records, including the excellent ‘Searching For The Now’ series of split 7” singles. Volume four is the real winner for me so far, with The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and Summer Cats, from which the latest two entries in the Advent countdown come. I wrote about the single for issue to of my ‘Don’t Forget To Dance’ fanzine back in the summer. Here’s the text:
It’s the kind of record you want to throw on the record player on a Saturday night before heading out into the city. Pop a beer, turn the volume up to eleven. Heartbeats up, love, and all that malarkey. It’s the kind of record you can keep flipping over and over, each side catching you just so and demanding more of the same and then some. So that in the end you decide that, maybe, just maybe, the rest of the Saturday night is going to be an anti-climax and so, sod it, why not just open some more beers and keep playing records. Maybe bring some friends over. Or just immerse yourself in a solo night of sweet abandon. Perfect Pop sense.
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart sound fuzzy, scuzzy, messed up magic. I can see why Slumberland would want to release them for they are fired with the same sonic urgency as Black Tambourine, Velocity Girl and Rocketship with a hint of the shoegaze dreampop of Lorelei. I never bought into that shoegaze shtick, though I did like those Lorelei records, and really what I want to say is that The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart are in the spirit of Meat Whiplash and, yes, if you insist, the early Mary Chain. Or, come to think of it, My Bloody Valentine from long before they were Loveless. You know, when they were still in Ecstasy. Not that any of that matters in the slightest of course. I just throw those kind of references in to show you how old I am. Or how hip I am. Ha ha.
But My Bloody Valentine. I do not really understand the infatuation with them coming back and playing an hour of noise. I like those records well enough, but for me it was a case of diminishing returns from Ecstasy onwards. I mean, I loved those later records but for me Ecstasy is the one. For so many reasons. The songs are great. The sleeve even better. Apart from the placement of the title. They should have left that off. But that speckled background. Lovely. Twenty one years old. I bet that’s even older than some of the members of The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. Scary.
And hey, Summer Cats sound even better. I mean, they do until you flip the record back and hear The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart again and you falter, and wonder, and… heck, with a see-saw of two such great songs, who really cares? But Summer Cats. A little less of the fuzz and buzzsaw and a little more of the melodic thrash. Yum. Mike mentions Stereolab in his own description of the record, and as I mentioned earlier, he should know about that. I hear it too. The early ‘lab oscillating keyboard groove, drenched in summershining popnoise.