30 March 2015

Eureka Machines - Brain Waves

It’s been a good three months since I last reviewed anything for this blog, I’ve kind of got out of the habit. Last December we had a big rush to get any albums we wanted for inclusion for Album of the Year. By the time the results were correlated I was all blogged out and wanted a rest from it for a while. That rest became a break and that break became filling all my spare time watching Arrow on hooky websites.
I’ve been feeling a bit guilty for not contributing so much lately and now that one of my favourite bands have released their new album, it seemed like a good time to start again.

Brain Waves is Eureka Machines’ fourth album and the second they’ve successfully released through the crowd funding website, Pledgemusic (where I am downloading the songs from as I type) Its title irks me in the fact that their previous three albums (Do Or Die, Champion The Underdog, Remain In Hope) all had three world titles and this only has the two. However irritating to me that might be, it isn’t a major issue in the grand scheme so I shall attempt to move past it.

This album also differs from the previous ones in that it follows a theme of sorts. It’s not a concept album by any means but all the songs run around the premise of Depression, Bipolarism (is that right? Bipolarisation? Bipolarate?) and the general bother thinking about things too much can get you into. That said, it’s not the miserable slab of gothic emo you might imagine. It’s a gloriously bright sounding album, full of life and joy despite the mopey subject matter.

A short staccato burst of guitar kicks things off and we’re away in fine style with the frenetic Paranoia. It features a great, piledriving, riff and has a load of melody, I think there’s a little bit of honky tonk in there too. Television is slightly less breakneck but still a full on rock song. The chorus line “So I sit and I wait and I read my TV guide” has been infuriating me all this time because it really reminds me of something that I couldn’t place. I’ve just spent the last half hour mumbling the line I thought it was until I figured it out. It’s We’re Not Deep by The Housemartins. See, now that I’ve figured it out I’m not entirely sure they sound anything alike. Anyway, Television. Good song. 

 (the bit I mean is about 25-30 seconds in, see what you think (if you've heard Television) and also keep an eye out for Fat Boy Slim in this video)

Sleep Deprivation steps things up a notch. It’s a brilliant song, popper than the previous two and has some lovely, King’s X style, harmonies throughout, particularly in the closing ramble about lost keys and doorbells. Brainwaves carries on the poppier feel and would make an excellent single. It’s dead catchy and has some nice Woah oh’s in it. It sounds perfect for the radio and the more people singing “Am I ordinary or the weirdest guy I know?” the better.  

Human picks up the pace and careers forward wildly, dragged along by an odd, two note riff. Again, the chorus is a mammoth one that’ll get stuck in your brain for days. 

When Every Day I Thank The World I Cut You Off first came on I had to check to see if iTunes had frozen cos I couldn’t hear anything.  Everything was fine; it just starts really quiet and understated. It’s a welcome break after the last five songs, it’s a slow, relaxing song which, fairly obviously, deals with people who are a drain in your life and detangling them from it. It goes all swirly and fancy halfway through and builds up to a crashing finale.

The first song released from this project was Welcome To My Shangri-La and it’s simple to see why as it’s a perfect representation of the band; big, bouncy riffs and singalonga woahs in the chorus. Again, it’s been frustrating me because there’s another song I recognise but I can’t narrow it down any further than I think it’s an Oasis one.  Next up is The Golden Lonely that’s essentially a modern day Can’t Buy Me Love. It’s another typical upbeat Eureka Machines song.  I particularly liked the lyric “She’ll take your wealth, she’ll take your fame.  Oh she’ll take everything but your name”.

                                          (L-R Davros, Chris Catalyst, Pete Human, Wayne Insane)

 Following The Golden Lonely is Vulture Of The Culture, it’s very similar to the previous songs pace-wise. I don’t know why but I’m not as keen on this song as the others. It’s a good song just not special.  

Neuro Bolero is an improvement though, the verses are quite restrained but still boppy, the chorus is a loud, brash thing that belies the insecurities displayed in the lyrics. It’s an interesting juxtaposition.
 The final two songs are both slower songs and are the two longest as well. The first time I heard I Miss You I wasn’t that impressed, it passed me by a little but the more I’ve listened to it the more I appreciate it and now it’s one of my favourites. It’s a gentle, wistful song that seems to be more about missing happier times mentally than it does about a person.
The final song is We’re Going To The Future, it’s a 7 minute long epic that, to be honest, could have stopped at about 4 minutes but as it’s the last song on the album the 3 minutes of the endlessly repeated chorus seems like a good way to end things.
I don’t know if it’s actually what it’s about but, to me, it sounds like it’s about this One Way Trip To Mars thing that’s been in the news. Personally I think it would be an exciting and amazing experience but one that sounds almost certain to end in horrific and painful death. Still, this song finishes the album with a sense of positivity and excitement about what the future holds. It’s very much a light at the end of the tunnel song which is what was needed.

 Each one of Eureka Machines albums have been an improvement on the last and Remain In Hope, was a fantastic album so Brain Waves had its work cut out but it has most definitely managed it.  I look forward to the next (Which I hope is the second in a trilogy of albums with two word titles) very much.

9 out of 10 - Almost perfect... Almost

You can read reviews of all three of their other albums HERE

Listen on Spotify HERE. In about a month or so when the album gets a full release.

Read some background info on the album and download a couple of free songs HERE
You could probably sign up for the Pledge while you're there.

23 March 2015

Kid Rock - First Kiss

Recently, we had a blog for Papa Roach (click here) and I believe there may be a one for Alien Ant Farm in the works, which brings us up to another artist from the late 90's/early 00's which used to get played a lot in rock clubs but that doesn't mean they were any good - Kid Rock. This is his tenth studio album and a continuation of the southern rock (IE Lynyrd Skynyrd worship) vein which he started doing round about 2002. Not that it's a bad thing as, quite frankly, his rap stuff was average at best but the occasional gem would pop up. Admit it, we all had fun trying to dance to "Bawitaba" and "American Badass" (more on that later) whilst drunk in rock clubs. I also liked his songs "I Am The Bullgod" and "Fists Of Rage" too. Never really cared for much of his other stuff though.

The artist formerly known as Robert James Ritchie was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1971. According to wiki, his stage name came about when people would describe going to see him play the hip-hop clubs of Detroit as watching that "white kid rock" (according to wiki). After a few records - and false starts, his big break came in 1998 when he released "Devil Without A Cause", an album which created a but of a stir due to it's mix of rap and rock. Well, the nu-metal era was taking off and he nearly got lumped in with all of that lot. It's not a bad album but there are far better. This was followed by "A History Of Rock" in 2000 and it's about here that he blew up as one of the songs was used by wrestling organisation WWE (then known as WWF) as the intro music for one of it's wrestlers - The Undertaker, who at this point had the gimmick of a biker as opposed to the 'Dead Man' of previous years. The song was called "American Badass" and was the music of the Metallica song "Sad But True" with Kid Rock rapping over it. This was also a hit - and not the first wrestling theme he'd do as he covered the ZZ Top song "Legs" for Stacey Kiebler's theme. There was also a wrestler for rival company ECW who was called Kid Kash, which borrowed heavily from Kid Rock, even coming to the ring to "Bawitdaba". So it's not like Kid Rock was a flash-in-the-pan or anything. Guest spots in "The Simpsons" and other shows followed, as well as a much publicised marriage - and divorce - to Pamela Anderson. It was about this time I'd lost track of what he was doing, until he released the song "All Summer Long" - which sampled "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd and contained two of the worst lyrics in a song..."smoking funny things" and "play that dead bands song". Real smooth...

This leads us onto First Kiss and to be honest, I picked to review this album as I couldn't be chewed to listen to Papa Roach or Alien Ant Farm. I got the lesser of three evils. Or did I?

Here goes...

1) First Kiss - Oh shit, it's a "back in the day" song about both his first crush and his first car. I'm pretty sure the insipid Katy Perry did a similar song. Besides, the only "back in the day" song that anyone needs to listen to is "Summer Of  '69" by Bryan Adams. Don't agree? GET OUT!!! Seriously, why the hell would a millionaire rock star want to revisit that part of his life? I'm guessing it's just a song and he's merely utilising subject matter but for fucks sake, it's a big piece of mawkish, sentimental crap. Throw this one to the fucking sharks for all I care...

2) Good Times, Cheap Wine - Starting off with a 12-bar riff, it goes onto basically describe how he just likes the simple things in life and how he'll never be a Coldplay fan or fit into skinny jeans. Why we should know or care about these sentiments is anyone's guess. It's basically saying "fuck you, modern world, I'm not gonna change for anyone" as it also mentions he's not gonna do Facebook or Twitter neither. So it's kinda ironic I'm listening to this album on Spotify. Again, a crap song. We're not doing too well here...

3) Johnny Cash - A song about telling some girl "I want to be your Johnny Cash". To be honest, it's not as bad as it sounds. Some nice music and vocal harmonies. It raises hopes that we may not have a completely shite album just yet.

4) Ain't Enough Whisky - Southern boogie. It's not too bad. Starts ranting about real life stuff ("they talk about sending my daughter to war" - at least, that's what I think he said). I can imagine this one getting a bit of a singalong going too.

5) Drinking Beer With Dad - "I remember when I was young, I couldn't wait to turn twenty-one"...holy shit, we've got another "back in the day"song! Although, I suppose this one actually has a good point to it, there is nothing like having a nice beer with your dad. The song seems to be telling us to treasure the memories of our dads whilst making memories with our own offspring. Quite sentimental. Good point too, treasure your family as we don't know how long they're gonna be here for.

6) Good Time Lookin' For Me - More boogie. It's pretty ordinary. I've tried listening to it three times now but it's just not landing.

7) Best Of Me - Seems Mr Rock sometimes has doubts about his abilities as a musician, but all that goes out the window once the lights go down and he starts doing his thing. So underneath the gentle piano and quaint lyrics, we have a song about overcoming stage fright. Possibly from "back in the day", I dunno. It's not too bad, to be fair.

8) One More Song - Snappy guitar opening before singing about meeting an old friend and then bitching about an ex. Seems to be the jist of things. It's a bit maudlin but whatever gets you through the night.

9) Jesus And Bocephus - Some gospel thing. Goes from drinking to finding God. It's not too bad, to be fair. In fact, it's the only song on here that I have in my memory after listening to this album. I tend to listen to each song two or three times in order to form an honest opinion, so it's not like I deliberately skip any. This is the best song. The vocal melodies are very good. Nice use of a church organ too,

10) FOAD (bonus track) - A song about having a go at a twat of an ex. Reminds me of a song that Zakk Wylde did when he was in his first non-Ozzy band (Pride And Glory). As far as this song goes, it's a bit bland. Not landing at all.

This was the first Kid Rock album I've heard in fifteen years and tbh, I wasn't keen on it at all (as if you couldn't tell). Mind, I was never his biggest fan to begin with. The plus points of this album are that it's produced very well (production duties were handled by Kid Rock himself with a couple of tracks done by Dan Huff), it's played very well and Kid Rock's brand of southern country rock is certainly a far cry from the redneck rap metal of yore. The drawbacks? It's like redneck middle-age is creeping in and he's getting the pipe and slippers out. This can be viewed in two ways: 1) It's a good thing he's grown up as no-one can act young forever or 2) he's lost all fire and is now plodding along. I think it's a bit of both, to be fair.

4 - Well it's alright, but still.

Top Track: Jesus And Bocephus.

Available on iTunes.


22 March 2015

Thunder - Wonder Days

With a resonating name like Thunder, it's a fair bet that a hard rock band will always have some sort of musical punch. Nowadays as far as I see, hard rock on the whole sadly seems to take a back seat to its more popular cousin in alternative, but as a schoolboy brought up on the former stuff, it'll always have a place in my heart. As Eddie Carter mentioned in his appraisal of their debut album, (read the blog in this link here) they have churned out some potentially world beating rock numbers such as Love Walked In, and my personal favourite Castles In The Sand. However, I believe we're both in agreement that they've never truly stepped up the level and realised that potential.

I have downloaded a couple of their tracks and on occasion I do follow their progress on their Facebook page, albeit occasionally I admit ashamedly. As far as I understand, guitarist Ben Matthews, as announced by Danny Bowes (very fine rock singer by the way) has been recovering from a recent cancer treatment, so fingers, toes and all other extremities crossed of course, even finding time to record a brand spanking new album in Wonder Days. The sleeve looks iconic, it's been clearly lifted from forty years ago, and so easily could've passed off in the book Kes. And if my knowledge on pushbikes serves me well, there's a Raleigh Chopper on show too, almost a winner for me!

They've had a couple of brief sojourns in between the twenty five or more years they've been together, and from what I've read, Thunder have alternated between the hard and blues rock moniker, and opening title track as well as the whole album seems to stay faithful to the former. I would've liked to have seen how they've tackled Blues but seemingly not here. Still, the opening title track's a promising one set in stone if the rock rulebook is not to be readjusted. Likewise in the next track The Thing I Want, it's very old skool reunion (I overuse the term admittedly), smacks of AC/DC, and ok, Danny is in his fifties and can't reach alto too many times now, still it's instantly forgiveable. Another assured number. Third song is The Rain, a semi-acoustical mandolin led and unplugged number before it gets a bit rockier towards the end, but enjoyable for me nevertheless.

No big changes to the order on Black Water, it's very soulful in fact if a little pedestrian, the onus is on the narrative so not enough to dip well below par. Seemingly my prayers are answered with the very meaty offering from The Prophet, it's very Joan Jett and catchy, this narrative is possibly the album's top track contender, the beat's very dominant in proceedings. Now midpoint of Wonder Days and there's Resurrection Day, where it's, well it would be really damning to describe it as mundane, the riffwork keeps its originality, if I'm frank it doesn't do much for me. There are some brief chorus harmonies in Chasing Shadows, it runs assured enough and enough to hold my attention in the four minutes. No deserving rock album doesn't seem complete without its ballad section and it's no exception here with Broken, piano led and close knit harmonies, and it runs pretty reasonable, the change of chords in the bridge does keep things on the boil.

So, a little pep in the four minute tracked mix with When The Music Played, it keeps the same old skool rock format, a little extra track is thrown midpoint, it's basically a retro bit of storytelling throughout. Now for the introductory acoustical Serpentine before the full quintet begin firing on all eight cylinders and I'm threatening to enjoy this! Why? I'm guessing it's the blues based layering I've endeared to and basically because it's so lively! So, a little standout number from me. And it's the same from the closing track I Love The Weekend. There's nothing complicated about the whole shebang, it's basically a three chord rock n' roll number, and I will concede it's possibly the best way to bring down the curtain.

I kind of grew out of rock about the nineties where I began to accept metal as being very listenable, so for me it's been a bit of a short sharp shock to climb back down the thrash ladder. My biggest concern is that is it a case that Wonder Days has been written in the wrong time of the wrong era? I can't answer yes or no at present, and it seems the jury can't retire to reach its verdict, so best to keep an open mind over it. I can see the path see where Thunder haven't made too many alterations in their arrangements over the twenty five or thirty years they've been together. It's old skool rock at its most basic level I can vouch for, and still plenty of evidence to suggest that old rockers never die. Still several good ideas floating about in Wonder Days admittedly, but not quite enough to elevate it to dizzying heights. At worst, it's on a par with the assured Backstreet Symphony though still not enough for Thunder to step off the rung as perennial underachievers.

5 out of ten. It could have been a bit better.
Best track : The Prophet

Buy the album here on Amazon
Listen to Wonder Days here on Spotify
Deezer listeners can alternatively click on this link
Official Facebook page here
Official Website here

Papa Roach - F.E.A.R.

It seems to be nu-metal/2000 era band time to come back time, as there has been a quite a few old acts coming back with new albums.  The one that I have been tasked with reviewing is the ninth album from Vacaville, California residents Papa Roach.  They are mostly known for their major label debut 'Infest' (cleverly linked here) which went triple platinum in 2000.  Now Mr Richardson when he reviewed that album was impressed by the overall sound, even if the lyrical content was not to his tastes.  I have to say I broadly agree with some point he had, it was still something I used to listen to in the day but they seemed to be a little too generic at that point.  It should also be noted that I have listened to most of their albums in the interim and they have been variant degrees of style chasing, they have always been chasing that audience peak but with new style; it has only been when they actually gave in and done a metal with a nu-metal/hard rock vibe that they sort of work.  Some bands just are what they are - albeit either a nu-metal act or actress vanity project such as Scarlett Johansson and her album of Tom Waits covers.  You know what you are getting into from the beginning and that can be cool.  With this in mind I can say that before I have heard the full album I will note that the band have linked in some modern rock/dub step elements to their sound from the singles I have heard.  This is something I will get back to later on, but just putting that out there first of all; so let’s see how this ninth release fares....

Starting with "Face Everything and Rise" (or FEAR) and it is an explosion of synths, heavy guitars, lyrics about facing ones inner fears and break beat drums; to cut a long story short - it is exactly like quite a lot of modern rock numbers that you will hear in your local rock club, it has a lot in common with Pendulum and that whole rave/rock scene which was really over a few years back.  The song is not bad, but it is also trying to keep up with the Jones a little bit too hard for my tastes.  Second track "Skeletons" starts off quiet poor again, it just seems to sound as if they are stumbling towards the song.  But once the song gets started, it picks up steam and sounds a lot better than its beginnings.  It also ends up being a better song than "Face Everything and Rise", it is another self-pity anthem which Papa Roach seem to thrive on, but with a positive taint to the song it would have been much better than this; it was not for the falling apart to a stumble ending which is a shame for this number. The third track is called "Broken as Me" which is a love song about forgiveness and downward spiral love, musically it is similar to what Korn did on 'The Path of Totality" in that it is all sound effects and about two years behind the rest of the world. However, with that small bit of bitching out there; I have to say that the song is actually not too bad, nothing really amazing but it is better than some of their recent material.  The main problem is that it could have been better with a few less effects.  "Falling apart" follows a very similar path to "Broken as Me", I would if you stripped back all the effects would it sound better?  The basic pattern of the song sounds decent, but you don't know if there is anything that is not studio trickery on this song.  How much of it is pro-tooled, how much of it is the band's real talent?  It is a little frustrating, but onwards to the next song.

"Love Me Till It Hurts" is the fifth number on this album, the pattern of this album is followed to the letter here:  broken heart lyrics, massive effects, some powerful drumming and a song which is coming to a cinema near you this summer.  If it is sounded anything different to what I have heard over the years, I might be impressed; but at the moment I am wondering when the little kick for the album is coming.  Nothing is bad, but on the same token nothing is exciting either. "Never Having to Say Goodbye" is the Linkin Park number here, my lord I feel like it is a tribute to "Numb", "In The End" and "Valentine's Day" from the first three Linkin Park albums.  I am not hating it, but this type of song has been done many times before and also a lot better.  "Gravity" on the other hand is the first song I really do not like, I am not a fan this song at all; I can understand the cathartic need to get your sins out on a page, but we have heard this before from Papa Roach - also some of the self-destruction on here is from a guy who has had a lot of success and toured the world and talks about how his fame broke him and his relationships - that is what couples therapy is for, not for an album which is sold around the world; some things are meant to be kept behind closed doors. "War Over Me" is once again back to the norm for this album, back come the big effects for the instrumentation of the song, the lyrical delivery about self-worth and fighting with ones demons are out once more and it is all sound the same as the vast majority of this record.  It is still better than "Gravity" at least.

"Devil" is one of the album's slower numbers, the bass is actually strong on this number (it has been doing a bit of a 'Justice For All' on this record if I am honest) and whilst it is once again another number that is not doing anything wrong, once more I am wondering what this would have been without the effects board and studio trickery.  It would be interesting to see what this about sounds like without the gloss and effects.  However, "Warriors" is about 10 years too late to the party - a limp mixture of rave/rock combo metal with a lump of dub to make it sizzle; this is not working and it makes "Gravity" sound like "Kashmir" - awful.  Penultimate song "Hope For The Hopeless" is helped by the fact it is not "Warriors" and it is another song that I wonder what it could have been if it was without those pesky effects causing all the trouble (like a Scooby Doo investigation).  It is one of the better numbers on this album as it does not outstay its welcome and it helps that it sounds as if it is sick of sounding like a broken record...just.  Also the ending song "Fear Hate Love" is much like "Hope for the Hopeless" - but with the self-loathing back in full force.  Musically it is a really good number, a very fast and powerful number to end the song in that department; but the "poor me" card has been played too often here and it reduces the worth of the material.  It is probably a fitting ending to the album in some ways.

I feel like I am listening to the musical equivalent of a Michael Bay movie - all effects and not substance (no matter how heart felt the lyrics are at the end of the day). I would also feel sorry if it was not for the fact that this is being performed by people who could get this sort of emotional issue fixed at a moment’s notice with various resources available.  It could be a good rock album in here to be heard, the demos might be interesting if they are released before the pro-tools came into play.  But at the end of the day it is just a big effects album that is ruined by the sound of a man who we know has issues and it must be good to get them out; but it is time that some of these were put to rest with a professional assistance.  Maybe this is an advert that making it big does not help every problem, but it is just a disappoint album.

2 out of ten - If only there was some quality control (or maybe less effects)

Top track - Hope for The Hopeless

You can purchase the album from Amazon here

You can visit the Papa Roach website here

For our Spotify users, here is a link for you

And whilst we are on it, here is a link to stream the album on Deezer

18 March 2015

Pile - You're Better Than This

I love it when bands are suggested to me, just a simple - try this - can make the difference to me and change the tone of a day completely.  The band in question today are Pile, a band I am not finding out much about them.  The bits I can gather are that they are from Boston, MA (same as the Pixies) and looking on Spotify I can see three albums (it might be more, as their UK label is shown four albums in total, plus a demo which is called Demonstration track).  From a review of this album, it has been mentioned that they are held with a ferocious reverence in some quarters and have been getting a reputation that they would be one of the next acts to explode; this is something that can be a bit of a double edge when you are talking about a new band who are just getting out there, some bands can collapse under all that pressure, so how will this album copy under that sort of pressure?  If one of your tag line is ‘Your Next Favourite Band’ is it the sort of thing that can really work against a band – anyone want to mention Gay Dad, Babylon Zoo and other fads at this point?  Well let’s find out....

Starting off the thirty seven minute tour-de-force is “The World is Your Motel” which comes across as an experiment between The Fall & Pissed Jeans.  It is aggressive, minimalist punk that is here to shout, destroy and basically piss off anyone within hearing distance.  It is a great mixture of minimal indie, noise rock and (dare I say it) grunge with a hint of New Wave punk dynamics.  It is a really powerful opening album that will have people either falling hands over feet to get a copy or indifferent to what is being offered.   The second track is called “Mr. Fish” which starts off slowly with the bass humming low, drums light and the guitars strumming slowly; but do not fear as they are awaiting to explode out of their collective shells once more here.  The slow nature of the beginning is helped by the chaotic nature of the performance; some people might find this odd, but in this day and age it is something that needs to be brought back again – it is an old trick, but a good one and this is a very effective song that does improve with repeat listens.  The third track is the feral “Tin Foil Hat” that sounds like bombs are being dropped. Once again, my mind is took back to that noise/indie dynamic set that was used to great effect in the late 80’s and early 90’s; this is a really good thing for me as it shows that the punk/indie spirit of those days are not dead and that there is a place for this type of aggressive music – it is one of the more interesting songs I have heard recently.

“Hot Breath” brings back the quiet part (for the majority of the song) of this band and shows what can still be achieved with a guitar band when needed.  Its slow and doomy vibe that takes the makes this number, the sense of menace that comes out of the speakers is huge and the fact that it may alienate some people is by design and that is fine – music does not have to be everything to everyone, sometimes it is best to be something to someone.  “Touched By Comfort” is the fifth track that starts with the band sounding as if they are trying to figure out how the song actually starts, but slowly and surely they draw themselves together and the slow strumming’s melt away to a tight noise that does not swamp the listener straight away; but you can feel yourself being pulled along by the rhythm of the notes and it is impossible not to be impressed by this song.  It could have been just another quite/noise number, but there is something more to the number; which is also something that can be levelled at the short and sweet “Fuck The Police” which is not a cover of the N.W.A. standard, but an acoustic guitar plucking number that keeps its charm going along all the way through and no sign of a distortion peddle anywhere.  It does not outstay its welcome and I actually wish it was longer if I am honest, but it is better to keep the audience wanting more.

The seventh track is called “Waking Up in the Morning” which starts off with a repetitive tone which is soon swamped with the band taking the song on in a song which is similar in tone to Wowee Zowee era Pavement.  It is also one of the best examples of American alternative rock which I have heard for a long time, it is a type of song which sounds that could have only been made in that part of the world; much in the same way that the North of England gave the world bands like The Smiths, The Charlatans and Joy Division – you might get bands who try to sound as if they are doing the same sort of thing in different parts of the globe, but it does not quite sound right and the same is true with this type of music.  This is actually one of the best songs on the album as well, it is that hypnotic.  After this we have the punk and manic energy of “#2 Hit Single” which sounds like the band are ready to take the world by the scruff of its neck, again it has droning beginning, but this gives way to a heavier droning riff that will drill itself into your subconscious upon its first listen and appear randomly when the mood takes it.  The deconstruction of the song is brilliant and the singular nature of the noise takes this album up an extra notch, so far there has not been a dull moment.  After this we are introduced to the penultimate track “Yellow Room” which is quite possibly the most distorted track of the whole album; it starts off as if it is going to be another gentle number with a light strum and buzzing feedback till about 28 seconds in when a guitar sounds as if has been crashed through the wall of the song and then the band bring out the disjointed, uneven paced song that it not the easiest to get a grip on to begin with, but after a while it begins to sink in and you can see what they were aiming for on the number – to make the audience feel uncomfortable at this point, it works really well and it is to the advantage of the album as it could have went for the easy path; but this does not seem to be the style of pile.  Ending the album is “Appendicitis” which starts with the acoustic guitar again and feels like it is being restrained in places, like there is a monster underneath which keeps giving glimpse of its true colours every now and then; towards the end it seems to be unleashed a bit, but not in the way you would expect it to be or as quick as you would expect to come either.  This track is registered at seven minutes and forty seven seconds and it ebbs and flows along with a pace that is neither steady nor measured until the fifth minute and then it gives way to what can only be described as a secret track called “Rock & Roll Forever, With The Customer In Mind” (remember those kids) and the album ends with the world falling to pieces as the band rock out with the album coming to an end.

For once, I think the tag line might be correct – I am incredibly impressed with this record; from its fucked up cover, the songs which are not aiming for the mainstream and feels like it is the start of something special.  It is dynamic, harsh and rewarding; it does not put a foot wrong at any point.  If you have any interest in Alternative music, really you should be listening to this album as soon as possible.  The fact it is not their first means that they have grown into their current state without any outside interference and it feels very organic and natural.  The fact it is a great example what guitars can do when they are not sounding like a keyboard is being played by them is brilliant as well; the only thing stopping it being perfect is that I am wanting more.  Stop reading – start consuming.

9.5 out of ten – Almost perfect, almost……

Top track – Waking Up in the Morning

You can purchase the album from their Bandcamp here

You can also purchase the album from Amazon here

You can visit the Pile Tumblr here

You can also follow their activities here

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

For our Deezer users, here is a link for you to stream the album

Past sermons

Greatest hits