Back in the December of 2014, Leeds-based alternative-rock back Dinosaur Pile-Up announced that they were to make a new album. The resulting ‘Eleven Eleven’ was made available in the UK and Japan just under a year later in October 2015. However, on August 26 2016, SO Recordings/Caroline finally unleashed the twelve track album (including bonus track) upon North America, and those who are now hearing it for the first time are definitely in for a treat.
‘Eleven Eleven’ is an adrenalized flurry of anthemic choruses sandwiched between gnarled grungy riffs. A common style binds the album together so tightly that it almost feels suffocated at times, unable to branch out beyond a certain point. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since the result is a sound that is very focused and sure of itself. It helps keep the cart on the tracks and makes for a thrilling – albeit safe – ride.
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Dinosaur Pile-Up kick things off with the leading track ’11:11’ which lays down the foundations of the album. The same stomping riff runs through the track, gradually gaining meat as more instrumental layers are added, filling it to the brink with adrenaline before exploding at the chorus with an urgent yell of ‘eleven eleven’. Similar chorus structures are found throughout the album, particularly in the dynamically experimental ‘Anxiety Trip’ which works up to the same primitive burst.
Pure, unfiltered angst streams continuously throughout the album, making it appealing to a select audience while simultaneously remaining catchy and radio-friendly enough to entice a wider audience to listen. ‘Grim Valentine’ in particular is melodramatic to the core with a chorus that sings ‘I just want to die every time you come by, please be mine, grim valentine’. Tracks such as ‘Red and Purple’ ‘Nothing Personal’ and ‘Friend of Mine’ have a sound that is more reminiscent of pop-punk with the energised riffs and the melodic vocals that surf them. Despite this, they still feel as though they very much belong on the album with their snarling, skin-peeling instrumentation.
At times, songs such as the closing tracks ‘Crystalline’ and ‘Willow Tree’ poke holes in the Clingfilm that keeps the album tightly packed and rigid and allow it to breathe new air. Such tracks opt for a vibe that is subtly softer without dulling the edge that the preceding tracks have forged. The bonus track ‘Cross My Heart’, as one would expect, also offers a change of musical scenery that rounds off ‘Eleven Eleven’ very nicely.
Although ‘Eleven Eleven’ is clearly driven by its edginess, it feels as though it is being held back at times – like a dog with a muzzle, it lacks that bite. However, this might work in Dinosaur Pile-Up’s favour when it comes to reaching out to their new, wider audience, and ‘Eleven Eleven’ still makes for an enthralling listen regardless.
‘Eleven Eleven’ is out now via SO Recordings/Caroline.
This Dinosaur Pile-Up article was written by Tyler Turner, a GIGsoup contributor