“What’s really exciting for us about this record is it’s the first time we’ve ever been able to capture the energy and flow that we have live,” so says vocalist and guitarist Matt Bigland of the absurdly named UK alternative rock band Dinosaur Pile-Up. “Because it’s the first time we’ve recorded an album together in a room, like when we are playing live or rehearsing, we were able to shape the songs and put them down in the way we want to play them live. Whenever we wanted something to be heavier, or more intense, we just changed it there and then. It was awesome. So we feel really good about it. It sounds like us, right now.”
They are about to drop their new album Eleven Eleven and it is an enjoyable and raucous if uninspiring affair.
Right from the off with “11:11”, scorched guitar pounds out shock riffs of some ferocity driving the song towards its conclusion. Elements of Foo Fighters abound and the 90s grunge scene is all over this record. “Grim Valentine” is easy-listening rock and while they are all pose and bluster it’s nothing new. Dinosaur Pile-Up do not break new ground or have something new to say.
There are stand-out tracks on the album, but they aren’t trail blazers. They are slip-streaming their way through the grunge canon of the last 25 years and doing it very well. There’s much to like on this album; skillful and assured song writing, tight performances and engaging vocal – Matt Bigland certainly sings it like he means it, however it is all done by numbers. I found my attention drifting throughout the album and I kept thinking ‘I know that riff, or ‘I know that change’, or ‘that sounds like Kurt on Bleach, Dave Grohl on The Colour And The Shape or Richard Patrick on Title of Record.’ It’s just too derivative.
Just like the synthwave movement hearkens back to the synthpop anthems of the 80s, this takes you back to high-grunge of 1993. No bad thing but do not be fooled, it ain’t new. It is a blast though. I enjoyed it and it certainly played to the nostalgia centre of my brain.
To truly re-invent the wheel you have to be so mind-bendingly original or subversive it transcends the genre you are trying to ape and this unfortunately doesn’t.
So, if you miss the heady mid 90s grunge explosion and want to revisit that golden age then buy this album, it will take you back, but certainly not forwards.
File next to Nirvana, Filter and Foo Fighters.
Eleven Eleven is out August 26 via SO Recordings / Caroline
Dinosaur Pile-Up on the web: