Posted on November 9th, 2022

[as seen on NPR Music]

Pile has spent the past couple years in a reflective state. After seven albums of bruising, pummeling rock, the band released a fully improvisational record in 2021; a few months later, singer Rick Maguire put together a record of reimagined, solo versions of previously released Pile songs. This month, the band finished up a 10th-anniversary tour for its breakout album Dripping, playing the entire album, with its original lineup, each night.

Now, the band has announced its new record, All Fiction, out February. And though the record is all new material, you can hear the results of that period of retrospective pensiveness in "Loops," the album's ferocious first single. Maguire says the track is about his relationship with songwriting itself — about the stress of relying on it both as a healthy emotional escape and a fraught source of income. "You are building your brand / You are splitting the difference," he howls at the song's midpoint, sounding fed up yet relentless, "You are making demands / You are begging forgiveness." The song is dense, with the whole band contributing to a menacing intensity, but it turns almost atmospheric in its final minute — the percussion drops out, then Maguire's vocals, then the crunchy guitars, ending on a sweeping and surprisingly beautiful note.

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