The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have always worn their influences on their unashamedly fuzzy-pop sleeve. On this 7” single they pay tribute to a favourite: The Magnetic Fields. Recorded in June at Rare Book Room alongside the B-side, a cover of East River Pipe's My Life Is Wrong, it serves as something of a stopgap release to both coincide with their current European tour and to give their fans something new(ish) to listen to before their next album is eventually released. It’s also going to be released on an undoubtedly lovely, limited edition olive green vinyl and therefore become something of a collector’s item. But enough about the abstract, let us get to the concrete.
The Pains’ cover of Jeremy manages to both invoke the essence of The Magnetic Fields’ original whilst retaining the sound we’ve come to expect from them. If you compare the lyrics on this track to most of the songs on Belong then you can see one of the areas in which The Magnetic Fields have most heavily influenced The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Yet where the original veered between twee and saccharine, this version sounds more fleshed out. Driven primarily by the rhythm section of Alex Naidus and Kurt Feldmen, the vocals of Kip Berman and Peggy Wang complement each other, meaning that the male/female dynamic of the original is retained whilst being given a fresh twist. It’s not a case of taking a good thing and making it better as The Pains have clearly taken great care to be respectful of the original whilst putting their own mark on it. Jeremy will appeal to fans of both bands although not equally. It could even be argued that a certain innocence found in the original version is lost in the more muscular, rock-oriented cover. Yet this is splitting hairs and if the single gets more fans of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart listening to The Magnetic Fields and maybe falling in love with them then it will have done its job. The fact that it’s a cracking cover is just a bonus.
Jeremy by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart is currently available as a digital download and will be released on limited edition olive-green vinyl 7” on 29th October via Play It Again Sam.