Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Pains of Being Razorcut

My friend Peter recently turned me onto the latest indie-rock hype band, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. If someone had told me before I heard them that they had a retro J&M Chain/C86 vibe to them, I might not have bothered to listen to them. I've heard a few bands recently that harken back to that sound, and inevitably, my reaction has been a cynical "been there done that."

But POBPAH (sorry, but their name demands abbreviation) had a different effect on me. From the first chords of "Contender" I got an instant psychocandy sugar jolt that sent me on a nostalgia trip resulting in me digging through my old records to rediscover POBPAH's antecedents (that is, after I listened to POBPAH twice through).

I had to needledrop my copy of Psychocandy (which itself was thought to be a slavishly imatative album on its original release, but holds up quite nicely on its own terms nearly a quarter century later). I also dug out some of my old british "shoegazer" and C86 albums, including a compilation of music by the Razorcuts called Patterns On The Water: A Retrospective. Patterns has been unavailable for so long it doesn't even show up at Amazon. A more recent compilation R Is For Razorcuts, is also out-of-print and fetching megabucks. (The A Is For Alphabet EP is still available on CD and as a download, so if you dig what you hear pick that up).

Fans of POBPAH will likely enjoy the slightly fey and extremely catchy nature of the Razorcuts' music (although it's not as noisy, for that you need Psychocandy).

So okay, I've been there and done that, but POBPAH is good enough to make me want to go back and do it all over again. They deliver what some of these other neo-shoegaze bands don't: excellent songs that transcend the formula. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some footwear to contemplate.

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