The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, “Poison Touch”

Marc Hogan

By Marc Hogan

Lead News Writer
on 09.18.14 in Listen to This

A link exists between the best twee-pop and Taylor Swift that hasn’t been thoroughly explored. It’s something to do with the emphasis on bright melodies and crystal-clear, brainily emotive lyrics — though it may be hard to remember now, Snow Patrol, whose Gary Lightbody sang on Swift’s 2012 album Red, once shared a label with Belle and Sebastian. (I’ve also harped a couple of times on the idea that Red‘s giggly “Stay Stay Stay” reminds me of Swedish indie-pop tunesmith Hello Saferide.) It stands to reason, then, that Kip Berman, the frontman for sensitive New York dreamers the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, would be a big Swift fan.

Berman was talking with Drowned in Sound recently about the Grimes song “Go,” which was reportedly written for Rihanna, when the discussion turned toward Nashville’s own pop conqueror. Berman revealed that although he was “frustrated” his band’s heart-tugging 2014 album, Days of Abandon,  didn’t sound more like Swift, an outtake titled “Your Poison Touch” came closer to Taylor-worthiness than anything on the LP. Now, Pains have shared the (slightly retitled) track via The Line of Best Fit, with Berman joking that he wrote it for, well, take a wild guess. With a sterling lead vocal from A Sunny Day in Glasgow‘s Jen Goma, “Poison Touch” is a gleaming, shivery burst of conflicted romance that, as it happens, befits the year that gives Swift’s new album its title, 1989. If the “Shake It Off” singer is looking for a twee-pop Midas, she could do a whole lot worse than give Berman a call.

“Poison Touch” will appear on the deluxe version of Days of Abandon, due out September 22 via Fierce Panda. Read our feature, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart Start Over, by contributor John Everhart.