Birmingham, THE MIDLANDS. Halloween 2016. The four-piece, indie rock band from Boston, Massachusetts they call Pile is about to invade my ear and jangle my hearing gear with their soft-to-loud brand of guitar music.
Instead of going into too much detail about the gig, I thought I’d review their latest album offering You’re Better Than This (2015) in my own highly descriptive yet ignorant fashion. Once again, this exercise will probably do more for me as a therapeutic splurge of words – than it will benefit anyone actually wanting to learn about PILE. Nevertheless, please read on… donate your time to me. “Be my victim”
I will spare a few lines for the venue, The Sunflower Lounge (a short walk from New Street station) as this was my first time through the doors and I immediately felt at home. This was a den for music lovers and social pariahs like me. Nobody talked too loudly or disrespected my personal space. There was minimal fraternizing. 60’s garage rock oozed from the PA a few decibels too loud and Brooklyn Lager spewed from a tap at just £4 a pint (which may seem steep but consider this, they sell cans of the stuff for £5 at places like Byron bloody burger and that’s not even half a pint).
The verdict: a poky little dive that turns out to be a tardis for music lovers, provided they can get down the stairs. No wheelchair warriors at this gig. And I mean that as a criticism of the venue not a dig at the disabled.
On to the album!
The World is Your Motel
I have no idea how to review music. Having said that, about 2/3 of the way through this track I lose the ability to think in anything but a neanderthal fugue, which is a blessing for the over-thinker. Analysis is redundant. A different, slumberous drive is being awoken by the roar of vocals and the butchering chug of guitars cleaving my brain in twain. That and it sounds a bit like the Pixies. Before I was like a patient etherised upon a table, now I am twitching in time to Pile.
Just as I get up off the operating table, Mr. Fish lulls me back to my senseless sleep. I don’t dream. If I listen carefully I can hear a bed-time story with a fishy tale between sluggish guitar chords and mumbled phrases.
The chorus is like the movement from one stage of sleep to another – a more fitful and broken rest. The kind of sleep you wake up from way more tired than when you went to bed. Finally, as the song draws to an end, I remember it is just a dream. I wake up cold and sweating praising my lucky stars that I didn’t fall asleep at the wheel and kill that innocent child.
Tin Foil Hat
Hats off to you Tin Woodman, you lacked a heart but you sure made up for it by devouring the hearts of your enemies. And that’s exactly what this track makes me think. If you’re dead inside maybe the remedy you need is a syringe full of Pile. We live in a world where wearing a tin foil hat could be considered a fashion statement, we must endure these dark times and what better way to endure than soak in an acid bath of expertly off-key vocals and a guitar that sounds like a mourning wail at an elephants graveyard.
Before I summon the words to describe the imagery and emotions that Hot Breath inspires in me I want to say Rick Maguire is a singer I like. He’s not the singer I’d choose in a supergroup of my own fucked-up-Frankenstein’s-imagination (that would be Jim Morrison) but he’d definitely be invited to a Live Aid type event.
Hot Breath has more of a conga line through death row feel to it. A Seventh Seal dirge of death. Skipping to the gallows. In other words, the guitars build and decay but never lose that stride to something evil…
That will do for now. discover the rest of the album for yourself you lazy bastard. I must sleep for another 40 years and regain the mana I’ve expended on this hot mess of music writing.