Concert preview: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart make music as open and honest as its name

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From the May 15, 2014 edition

The NYC indie-pop crew, like the Arcade Fire before it, looked to Greek mythology for inspiration on its latest, Days of Abandon, finding it in the tale of Orpheus and his lost bride Eurydice. Despite the grad school influence that bleeds into cuts like “Eurydice,” the music itself never sounds studied, and songs like the swooning “Beautiful You” and the aptly titled “Simple and Sure” wear their, uh, simple pleasures as comfortably as a flowing summer dress or a favorite T-shirt.

As the band’s oh-so-earnest name suggests, there’s an openness and honesty to frontman Kip Berman’s words that sometimes gives the shimmering tunes a ripped-from-the-diary quality. This time around it’s more purposeful, however. In recent interviews Berman has said that, unlike past albums, which tended to be more universal in concept, he wanted to write more directly from the heart this time around. Weirdly, the songs sound more relatable than ever, and when the frontman repeats the words “losing you” on “Eurydice,” it cuts to the core of anyone who has ever experienced a loss — romantic or otherwise.

Fear of Men opens the show.

Pains of Being Pure at Heart photo