PILE- ‘Green and Gray’

‘Green and Gray’ is great. So great. Maybe Pile’s best album to date. So in a way it pains me to report that it’s unlikely to alter their long-held status of The Most Underrated Band Ever. The Boston outfit are something of an acquired taste, see, and their seventh album pretty much picks up where their sixth left off- tight, knotty rhythms, uneasy, queasy riffs, and main man Rick Maguire switching from melancholy mumble to powerful yowl. 

Opener ‘Firewood’ is exactly the sort of drunken-sounding thing Pile specialise in, a slow-building, fast-collapsing rock song that ignores things like structure and timing and instead goes in whatever direction it wants, at whatever speed it damn well pleases. ‘Your Performance’ sounds like country music covered in punk rock grime. And ‘Bruxist Grin’ might be about falling apart but it is almost upbeat, like The Beatles fronted by Iggy Pop at the karaoke bar in my brain. 

However, while Pile have added some extra ingredients to their melting pot here (string sections, ominous silence), their sound is no easier to swallow. Or hear. Whatever. The point is that Pile don’t care about winning over your heart or even your head with ‘Green and Gray’. I’m not sure they ever will. Instead you’ve got to feel this stuff in your guts, in your blood, or it just won’t work. The end of ‘Firewood’ has to spike your adrenaline, has to have you waving your hands in the air on the bus ride home. You’ve got to press play on ‘Lord of Calendars’ and immediately identify with its ferocious, squealing weirdness. You’ve got to hear ‘Hair’ and think ‘fuck me, where has this song been all my life’. 

Wow, what a long-winded way for me to say you just have to listen to this album and decide for yourself if it works. For anyone trying to, like, figure it out, it just won’t work. It ain’t happening. But for anyone that can feel it as it plays… or for those that can maybe feel it already, without even listening, that rumble in your tummy. For anyone like that, ‘Green and Gray’ is great. So great.

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