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Dinosaur Pile-Up – Growing Pains

Dinosaur Pile-Up, Growing Pains

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

DINOSAUR Pile-Up – the brainchild of Matt Bigland – could well be the new Nirvana or Dinosaur Jr, such is their grasp of grungy rock and alt-rock records.

Matt shirks away from the comparison when asked, preferring to refer to his template as Heavy Alternative Pop, but there’s no denying that the songs on debut album Growing Pains aspire to a Seattle-based sound. If we’re being more UK leaning, then perhaps we could compare them to Ash at their heaviest as well.

Nevertheless, Growing Pains is a fun listen for teenage rebels experiencing their own coming-of-age period of life. It’s reverb heavy, packed with crunching guitar riffs, a sense of identity searching and, yes, more than a little anger.

If there’s a criticism, then perhaps it’s not adventurous enough, content to stick with a tried and test formula, which Matt has been perfecting since his days in Leeds outfit Mother Vulpine, but if you dig the alternative scene, there’s still plenty to sink your teeth into.

Album opener Birds & Planes, for instance, is a classic slice of alt-rock that’s comparable to the likes of Weezer and Pavement in their prime, and which finds Matt take off on a flight of fantasy stream of consciousness (“I miss the days when I could sleep forever” and “nothing is for sure except the day you go to hell”). It’s kind of thrilling, especially in the way it takes you back to your own youth (if you’re an older listener!).

And it’s followed by another riff-laden power track in the form of Barceloner, which piles on the heaviness and sense of displacement.

Matt is better when easing off on the power, though, as the more melodic likes of Never That Together and recent single Mona Lisa (a real Ash meets Dinosaur Jr moment) testify. They’re clearer in delivery and more instantly gratifying.

The epic Hey Man is another notable offering, a Nirvana-ish slow-builder that rates as another album highlight, while Maybe It’s You an irony-laced anti love song that is rife with junior humour. It’s another Weezer-ish moment of alt-rock cool.

Hey You, meanwhile, even dares to suggest the band can strip things down and deliver a meaningful slice of acoustic heart pouring that’s actually quite endearing.

I could take or leave the more wilder indulgences, though, with supposedly ‘seminal’ LP moments such as My Rock ‘n’ Roll and Traynor actually showcasing the worse of what Dinosaur Pile-Up has to offer.

Hence, while Growing Pains has several moments to savour, so long as you like to keep things alt-rock heavy, it’s probably a little too samey as well. It’s the sort of album that should appeal to the slacker generation, or the rebels with causes among you. But, like its own name suggests, it also has some growing up to do.

For now, though, the seeds are being sewn in promising enough fashion.

Download picks: Birds & Planes, Hey Man, Maybe It’s You, Mona Lisa, Never That Together

Track listing:

  1. Birds & Planes
  2. Barceloner
  3. Never That Together
  4. Mona Lisa
  5. Broken Knee
  6. Hey Man
  7. My Rock ‘n’ Roll
  8. Maybe It’s You
  9. Love To Hate Me
  10. Traynor
  11. Hey You
  12. All Around The World