The beginning of 'Belong'-- the title track and new single from the Pains of Being Pure at Heart's second album, which is out March 29 via Slumberland-- features the indie-pop band casually jangling along. But it's something of a red herring. Right at the fifteen-second mark, the guitars blitz out louder and harder than anything on their self-titled debut. The gargantuan distortion recalls nothing less than prime-era Smashing Pumpkins, which makes sense considering Belong was produced by Flood and mixed by Alan Moulder, aka the guys who helped craft the sounds of Pumpkins classics like Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, not to mention records by My Bloody Valentine, Nine Inch Nails, U2, PJ Harvey, Depeche Mode, and many more. Basically, if you grew up in the 90s, your ears are subconsciously attuned the studio wizardry of Flood and Alan Moulder.
We recently met up with the band at the delightfully cheesy grilled-meats chain Dallas BBQ in downtown Manhattan. As lead singer Kip Berman slurped a red, white, and blue frozen drink called the 'Firecracker,' he and the rest of the group-- that's keyboardist Peggy Wang, bassist Alex Naidus, and drummer Kurt Feldman-- talked about their unlikely studio gurus in semi-shocked tones. The chummy foursome were more than happy to chat about the movie Clueless and something called a Travel Pussy, too.