Release Date: Mar 3, 2015
Record label: Exploding In Sound
Pile is a band’s band. Their PR circuit is just about every other indie rock band coming out of the Boston area. They’re referenced in a Krill EP title, and the ascendant Speedy Ortiz is always ready to rep them as the best the scene has to offer. On a more DIY scale, they are to New England bands what the Pixies were to Kurt Cobain and Thom Yorke: the lesser-knowns that the big-wigs are constantly trying to emulate.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. How much is frontman Rick Maguire's definition of success changing as he embarks on tour to support You're Better Than This? Most would have been pretty damn happy with themselves after the release of 2012's Dripping, a record that has more dynamic shifts than any guitar-driven band has cared to flare in a decade. It ebbs and flows (with decidedly murky water) so many paces ahead of your ears, you don't realize you missed the big chorus until two minutes later (See 'The Jones').
Although Pile have been going for a while – they’ve been a mainstay of the Boston DIY scene since the mid-noughties – it’s only recently that they’re been garnering more attention outside their home state. It could well be that the near-Herculean amounts of regular toying has helped. Over the course of their career to date, they’ve probably spent more time in a van going from city to city than laying down tracks in a studio.
Pile continues to take no prisoners in their peerless pursuit of angular, bratty, punch-in-the-jaw noise. Always masters of loud-soft-loud, the Boston quartet bares their teeth a bit more on You’re Better Than This than on their preceding Dripping, giving the album the same chilling vibe as movie sequences of monsters rising from the sea to destroy a downtown metropolis. Every move threatens havoc.
In certain parts of Boston, Pile are beheld with the kind of reverence traditionally reserved for local sporting heroes and/or minor deities. Envied by their peers—Krill snuck a song about listening to Pile, awestruck, on a 2014 EP—and idolized by a growing army of diehards, they are the overwhelming consensus pick in the Massachussetts indie scene for the next to blow. All of which may come as some surprise to Rick Maguire, Pile's delightfully self-effacing frontman.
The need to impose a narrative on a band is ridiculous if that band is transcendent. Here’s the plot behind the latest Exploding in Sound release: Pile is a band from New England. What we should talk about when we talk about Pile is not the story behind songwriter Rick Maguire’s personal struggles; it’s not how the band came to be and it’s not how the album was recorded in Omaha with producer Ben Brodin, a Saddle Creek veteran that also drummed on a Jason Mraz abum.