Posted on January 11th, 2017
[as seen on NPR Music]
Spend some time in Boston's indie rock circles, and the name Pile is bound to come up in awestruck tones. The acerbic, noisy rock band's four previous albums and ceaseless DIY tours have earned it local hero status among the leagues of die-hard fans who shout along to frontman Rick Maguire's every word. And Pile is well-known as an idol for its peers, too – just ask defunct Boston cult favorites Krill, who named an EP in the band's honor.
Pile's lyrics often tell of anxiety and anguish, but you don't have to listen too closely to the words to get a sense of Maguire's inner turmoil. Equally capable of a murmur and a yelp (and usually covering both within the space of a song), Maguire commands a frenetic, crackling delivery like frayed wires. The band balances the acrobatic and the annihilating as it shifts between gnarled melodies and heavy thrashing. While Pile's music often dwells in extremes, even its heaviest moments rarely feel outwardly aggressive. Maguire is inviting listeners inside his head, and it's loud in there.
"Texas," the lead single from Pile's upcoming album A Hairshirt Of Purpose, is a two-minute roller coaster that puts your heart in your throat and leaves it there. Hairshirt contains moments of subdued beauty throughout, but "Texas" offers little proof. From the song's very first moments, Maguire howls like a kid who isn't ready for such velocity or hairpin turns, but the band relentlessly lurches forward. Guitars squeal, interlock and fracture; the percussion commands a climax, but decides only to punctuate it once it arrives. Then the song screeches to a halt. Like the best of Pile's music, it leaves the listener's head spinning, demanding a few more listens.
A Hairshirt Of Purpose comes out March 31 via Exploding In Sound.