Pile – “A Hairshirt of Purpose” (2017)

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Pile is a post-punk band from Boston and their latest album is “A Hairshirt of Purpose”, which was released back in March.

I am definitely a fan of Pile’s music. Their album, “Magic Isn’t Real”, is one of my favorite albums ever and I think their other records such as “Dripping” and “Jerk Routine” are excellent. So I had some expectations coming into this album. Pile does not pull anything unexpected on “A Harishirt of Purpose”, the disjointed and beautiful melodies are still here, punctuated by distorted breakdowns and vocalist Rick Maguire’s compelling screams. The songs that service the distorted edge to Pile’s sound are great, spiraling into driving rhythms and crazy guitar licks that all amount to an impressively orchestrated chaos. Rick Maguire’s singing across the album is awesome, too, shifting with ease between quiet and introspective and explosive. Par for the course, the lyrics on the album are befuddling but soaked with meaning and inspiration.

While there are songs and moments that live up to the band’s best output, I’m left a little disappointed. The majority of “A Hairshirt of Purpose” is filled with mellow songs that lack the climaxes that made Pile’s music so exciting for me in the past. While these songs are decent, they are definitely lackluster. I’m missing the feeling of excitement I would get when listening to Pile’s previous albums, where at any moment it felt like a song could explode into something noisy and badass.

Even if I am a little disappointed, “A Hairshirt of Purpose” is still a good album. And it’s worth noting that all of Pile’s music grows on me the more I listen to it, so maybe this will click with me more in the future. For now, I’m enjoying the handful of songs that rock my world and am waiting patiently for the others to possibly open themselves up to me.

Favorite songs: “Hissing for Peace”, “Texas”, “Slippery”, “Fingers”

7/10

 

Check it out for yourself on Pile’s bandcamp:

https://pile.bandcamp.com/album/a-hairshirt-of-purpose

 

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