A Giant Dog - PileMerge Records – May 6th

Pile arrives in style. A choir, their voices pregnant with dread, buoyed on the sinewy swell of ominous strings, is interrupted by the crack of a snare, shattering the gothic ruse to reveal the gnashing gallop of first track proper ‘Creep’. A Giant Dog are back, and they’ve gone rabid.

In contrast to the surf-tinged garage of A Giant Dog’s past records, Pile is a searing slice of stomping rock ‘n’ roll, imbued with all the buzz of the New York underground sound and shot through with the caffeinated weirdness of Austin’s baked-out scene. This is rock in a malcontent mould; vocalist Sabrina Ellis is feeling old, proud, and refreshingly resolved in being a bad person. ‘Sex & Drugs’ is a defiant clock punch to the passage of time and misspent youth, Ellis demanding her friends be shovelled into graves before it’s her time to go, while ‘I’ll Come Crashing’ is an unabashed celebration of misbehavin’.

The glam influence is as prevalent as ever in shameless shout-alongs ‘King Queen’ and ‘& Rock & Roll’. Graham Low channels the irrepressible bass runs of Phil Lynott here, providing a bright counterpoint to the smoke and murk of pseudo love song ‘Jizzney’. Regardless of subject or execution, each track on Pile carries the bristling tension of a band who knows exactly what they want to say. The concepts are direct and the rush immediate, while the interplay between drums, guitar and, most prominently, bass, achieves order through a gleeful sense of the shambolic. Fun without being dumb and with a respect for the forebears of the genre, Pile is an exemplar of rock and roll remaining a relevant force in modern music.

Buy: A Giant Dog – Pile