Brace yourself for the latest full-length album release from the Boston band Pile: a thrashing work of art titled Dripping. It’s been two years since the band’s last release, Magic Isn’t Real. Raw and explosive, this new album develops from start to finish.
It is encouraging to hear a rock band create such a listenable collection of songs. Containing tracks with beginnings, middles, and ends, Dripping features some sincere storytelling from lead singer Rick Maguire. In the first song “Baby Boy,” Maguire mixes singing with screaming, matching a nice balance between the two. With harmonies in vocals and supporting Matt Becker’s guitar, the song is reminiscent of that post-hardcore edge we’ve all grown to miss from the ’90s. The album is always building up to breakdowns, and it’s quite epic to see them put it together live, which is how they do it best. Matt Connery (bass) and Kris Kuss (drums) hold it all together, adding some intensely complex caveman-like beats.
The album continues to progress. “So Hard” brings us the sort of hillbilly country finger picking that builds up and slows to a lull until it fades into the driving song “The Browns.” The most punching song, and arguably the climax on the album is “Grunt Like a Pig.” Much more hardcore than the rest of the album, this track really nails its stop/start, loud/soft technique. The first side of the album closes with “Prom Song,” an epic track that builds up to a powerful outro, getting dirty and gritty musically, but featuring nonchalant, “I don’t care”/Pavement-esque vocals–a nice variation that really makes the track stand on its own.
Excluding songs like “Sun Poisoning,” “Bubble gum,” and “Steve’s Mouth,” side B is a little slower and very dissonant. Emotive and intense, these tracks seem to flow into each other. “Bubble Gum” contains more of that country finger picking we can expect Pile to bring to the table. The last track, “The Jones,” is a very uplifting way to close out the album with a chanting singalong and winding guitars.
Pile has teamed up with Exploding In Sound Records for this third full-length release. Pile’s been described as “aggressive lo-fi post-punk” by their label, and that is a pretty dead-on description. Gritty but cleanly recorded guitar, driving drums, dissonant harmonies, and a perfect balance between singing and screaming in the vocals–Dripping is full of all of these.
Pile is currently on tour promoting Dripping until the middle of November. Live performance is where the band truly excels; after all, their live energy is what drew Exploding In Sound to the band. The label plans to bring a few more bands to their roster in early 2013.
Dripping is arguably one of the best post-punk albums of the year. It embodies the greatness of the ’90s post-hardcore movement, but the album stretches the genre by adding finger picking–an aspect that builds moments of dissonance that resolve into their heavy breakdowns–now a mastered and signature characteristic of this band. Pile only pressed 500 vinyl copies, available on bandcamp for $10. If you don’t have a record player, do yourself a favor and name your price on the digital download…