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Dinosaur Pile-Up - Growing Pains

Sometimes it is better to wait and release the record you want, rather than delivering early to cash in on hype.

After a lot of early press, ‘Growing Pains’ is Dinosaur Pile-Up’s statement to the world. Recorded entirely by frontman Matt Bigland in Bridlington over an eighteen-month period, it proves that sometimes it is better to wait and release the record you want rather than delivering early to cash in on hype.

It can be quite rare these days to hear a properly recorded guitar, but here cascading crashing guitars and honeyed melodic choruses are the order of the day. Opener ‘Birds & Planes’ reminds of early melodic Foo Fighters with the great lyric ‘Nothing is for sure except the day you go to hell’. Indeed, the whole record is pretty indebted to the better grunge bands; Barcelona riffs like something off Nirvana’s ‘Bleech’, and the spectre of J Mascis and Dave Grohl hang ever present.

‘Growing Pains’ sounds very much like one man’s labour of love, and occasionally this can result in a slightly linear sonic feel. The album appears to consist entirely of guitar, bass, drums, vocals and an array of distortion pedals. However, it’s very much a cohesive whole, and though highlights come in the form of poptastic ‘Hey Man (Home You Ruin)’ and thumping sing-along single ‘Traynor’, it has clearly been written as a start to finish listening experience.

Later on, ‘Hey You’ has that classic acoustic intro’d end-of-album atmospheric building feel, which is almost enough to convince you the album has finished, only to startle with the cheekily and unexpectedly belting of the Frank Black-esque ‘All Around The World’. There may even be a secret track, but that would be telling.

Given the album’s transatlantic sound, it works best when Bigland lets slip and shows a more introspective and vulnerable side to his vocal, reminiscent of the Pavement loving Graham Coxon. ‘Maybe It’s You’ could almost have sneaked onto ‘Happiness In Magazines’, and likewise there is something of the stop-start and guitar chug in ‘Love To Hate Me’ that suggests different influences at play.

As an album this is a brave statement; utterly at odds with the tide and lyrically a refreshing change from the endless stream of stage trained singer songwriters. Hopefully it will pay off as when it works it really works.

Tags: Dinosaur Pile-Up, Reviews, Album Reviews

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