After speaking with Kip, we realized that this EP was something to really look forward to, as this entire EP includes new songs from 2009 darlings The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. You can’t not want more tunes from these guys can you? So here we have Higher Than the Stars, song by song.
This EP opens with the title track, “Higher Than the Stars.” It opens with a noticeable keyboard programmed atop the steady drumming and hazy guitar. Kip’s vocals are extremely soft here, almost kept to a whisper. You’ll find that some of the guitar tones are really bright, which is what makes the group a pop band afterall!
Following the opener is “103.” This is the track that most closely resembles the group’s stylings on their debut LP. Once again, you can heat the march of the drums, and instead of the hazy guitars, this time around you get more of that earth-shattering atmospheric guitar sound, with a nice little solo blaring through it all near the end of the tune.
Personally, “Falling Over” is where it’s at on this EP. It’s got a lot of that classic 80s jangle-pop mentality, but with the influence of someone like the Happy Mondays, bringing in a little bit of dance into your clasic guitar song. The chorus is perfectly fitting to the concept of the song, placing it squarely in the past–for some reason I hear someone like New Order or the Pet Shop Boys rocking this chorus.
Our fourth track is somewhat of a new nostalgic approach. It’s less jangle-pop than previous records, and it demonstrates that The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are more than just one trick ponies. The lack of clarity on the guitar here recalls the likes of The Stone Roses or Teenage Fanclub. It’s an American Britpop song.
For the final track, you get a little remix of “Higher Than the Stars,” done by St. Etienne and Lord Spank. It doesn’t add too much to the original track, other than a steady dance beat, and a little bit more time. It’s not an awful track by any mean, just dismissable in comparison to the previous four tracks.
Overall, the wonderful thing about this release is that it gives way to a new horizon for the group. They haven’t foudn themselves stuck in one place, destined to release the same thing over and over again. It makes it rather enjoyable for us all.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/pains-higher-than-the-stars.mp3]
Download: Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Higher Than the Stars [MP3]