REVIEW: DINOSAUR PILE UP - CELEBRITY MANSIONS
Leeds alternative rock trio Dinosaur Pile Up are one of my favourite rock bands on the planet and (to borrow a phrase from Chris Jericho) I feel like such a stupid idiot for not including them as part of my top five acts that I was looking forward to seeing at Download Festival. The latest release from Dinosaur Pile Up is Celebrity Mansions, an album that promises to be a full on riotous punk rock escapade.
The album's opener "Thrash Metal Cassette" is a gut-busting mix of gnarly riffs, tuneful chorus and even a little appearance from a cheerleading section! This is followed up by the Faith No More-esque "Back Foot", launching forward with a swagger that could only have come from the influence of the great Mike Patton himself. As he mentions himself, the band's central figure Matt Bigland hails from Leeds but has since day one of Dinosaur Pile Up been striving to match the beastly sound of Seattle grunge and the rock behemoth that is Dave Grohl.
In fact, he name-drops Grohl and the late Kurt Cobain on "K West", a song which is in constant risk of slipping into "Beverly Hills" by Weezer territory. "I get stoned with Dave but look like Kurt", is his not-so-subtle nod to his major influences, but thankfully the heavy riff and inoffensive chorus keep this track from going too far into the realms of cheesy nostalgia.
Having been picked up by a big label in Parlophone, it’s hardly surprising that this album feels much better produced and more energetic than its predecessor Eleven Eleven. Matt Bigland has bags of the aforementioned energy to spare, capable of carving out infectious rock songs which don’t lean on any of the more popular genres of the moment to get your attention. "Pouring Gasoline" is a fuzzy, rattling number going at breakneck speed with a fiery chorus about fair weather friends, while "Stupid Heavy Metal Broken Hearted Loser Punk" feels like a pop-punk song tied to a car battery with its bruising, sparky riffs and a heartfelt lament part-way through amplified with bird tweets in the background.
For the most part, Matt Bigland applies devilishly cartoonish energy to the guitars with an effortlessly crafted range of melodies recalling all his favourite bands. "Long Way Down" at the back end of the album puts both hands on the wheel and takes a more serious tone lyrically, but this is a total outlier in comparison to the likes of "Back Foot" where he sings about waiting tables and oozes confidence as he reels off what “all you jealous bitches know you want”. Bigland yearns for success, but he wants it on his own terms and wants to truly earn it.
As a kid from northern England brought up on American rock from the 80s and 90s, it’s no shameful thing to say that this is likely to be one of the best rock albums of the year. There are very few bands out there in Britain who can put filthy riffs together with infectious melodies and lyrics in the same way as Dinosaur Pile Up can. The band seems to never once slow their pace or wind off into introspective pondering across the entire ten tracks of the album, something that should be highly commended! For a band who called their last album Eleven Eleven, there’s no prizes for guessing that this is an album that you should play loud and proud.
ROCKODILE RATING: 9/10
Words by Tom Da Silva