November 3, 2010

Song Reviews: "Down By the Water" and "Heart In Your Heartbreak"

The Decemberists' "Down By the Water"

Last year's The Hazards of Love was a polarizing indie-prog opera from The Decemberists that seemed to cool their hot streak following an impressive string of releases. This January, Portland's literature-loving folksters are looking to get back on track with a new album entitled The King Is Dead. "Down By the Water" is a song that fans may be familiar with, as Colin Meloy and company have been playing it live over the past year. It's been reported that Peter Buck of R.E.M. joined The Decemberists in the studio on their latest effort, and you can definitely hear his iconic guitar style cutting its way into The Decemberists' timeless nautical sound. Come 2011, The King Is Dead but The Decemberists' penchant for exploring new directions is not.

The Decemberists - "Down By The Water"

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart's "Heart In Your Heartbreak"

It's hard to tire from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart brand of melodic shoegaze pop. The Brooklyn group broke onto the scene in 2009 with their bubbly self-titled debut and have consistently released a stream of enjoyable singles and EPs since then. While their sophomore effort isn't due out for a few more months, they're offering up "Heart In Your Heartbreak," the first single off Belong. The track doesn't stray far from TPOBPAH's formula for sugar sweet pop tracks filled with mid-tempo drum beats, swirling synths and Kip Berman's soft-edged vocals, outside from the fact that the band lays off a thick layer of distortion heard readily on their debut. While "Heart In Your Heartbreak" only marks a small step forward in growth for TPOBPAH, it's a rare example of how changing the formula isn't always necessary to keep your audience's attention.

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - "Heart In Your Heartbreak"

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