Who: Boston-based Pile are back with a sprawling and epic-sounding 7th LP.
Sound: Green and Gray, sounds like a Pile record, it is a lot slower, longer, more nuanced, but still has impact. It just takes time to get there.
TFN Final Take: By the time most bands get to their 2nd or 3rd LP, they have already lost steam and are out of ideas. Not so for Pile. There are still ideas and creativity lurking on their latest LP, Green and Gray. Pile has somehow managed to sound like their selves while creating an entirely different album experience for the listener.
Green and Gray is dark and foreboding. Often times I felt like I was slowly being consumed by the tracks not unlike an anaconda slowly digesting its captured prey. The coils tighten and tighten with each note, with each track, as you find yourself more and more wrapped up in its deadly nature. It is better if you don’t struggle, just let it swallow you.
Getting into the gullet of Green and Gray requires patience. On my first listen, I was a bit put off by how many slow songs there were on the LP. True to Pile’s nature, what is slow and quiet does not stay slow and quiet for long. Pile are masters of the loud-quiet-loud approach, it is just quiet-loud-quiet now. That may cause longtime fans a bit of distress when hearing Green and Gray for the first time, but you have to stick with it to reap the rewards.
My only qualm with Green and Gray is that it embraces its contemplative and quiet side too much. If there were a few more rippers like the incredible “On a Bigger Screen” and “The Soft Hands of Stephen Miller,” I think it would have helped balance the album for me. With today’s political turmoil, I would have thought that more scathing noise post-rock tracks would be found on Green and Gray.
It is a minor quibble, but one that may polarize fans who want a faster and nastier Pile record. This record will ask more of the listener, and that is indicative that the artists who created it, believe in it. Once I got over my own expectations and settled into the album, I stopped worrying about what it isn’t and appreciated it for what it is.
Exploding In Sound Records
– Reviewed by Daniel Taylor
Photographer/journalist for the U.S. Navy for 26 years. Music fan since forever. Music really hit him in the early 90’s when he heard the Pixies’ Doolittle LP. After that came Pavement and then Guided by Voices. His love for those bands formed his taste in music and he continues to search for that musical “high” today. Married for 18 years and currently lives in Japan.
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