Instead of following up their well-received self-titled album with an EP full of the same kind of neo-shoegaze noise pop, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart do a little creative stretching on the Higher Than the Stars EP. The title track is a happy pop tune with the layers of fuzzy six-strings replaced with shimmering synths. It's more Field Mice than My Bloody Valentine and it works very well. The band didn't really need to prove that there were lovely songs beneath all the noise, but they truly have;.it's the kind of song that will be at the end of the 2009 mixtape staple among lovers of great pop songs, indie or otherwise. "Falling Over" also takes the noise-free approach and moves even farther from MBV towards an almost Cocteau Twins-like softness. Unfortunately, the synth tones on the songs are kind of dorky, but they don't ruin things. Next time stay away from the presets, though. The other two songs ("103" and "Twins") are fine noise poppers that stick closely to the template the band used on the album. Amazingly for anyone who's been following Slumberland from its humble beginnings, the EP is capped with a Saint Etienne remix of the title track. They do a fine, if a little too smooth, job of turning the song into a sleek disco epic. Just the fact that they do it at all is the amazing thing. This EP marks a vital point in POBPAH's artistic development, a chance to see that they aren't willing to just sit back and repeat themselves. It's a pretty good listen, too.
Higher Than The Stars EP Review
by Tim Sendra
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