New LP from Dinosaur Pile-Up offers heavier batch of shared recordings
England’s Dinosaur Pile-Up sounds “harder, faster and terrifyingly heavier than ever before” with third album Eleven Eleven via So Recordings/Caroline Records. A profile posted on this year’s Leeds Festival website further notes the hometown trio of lead singer and guitarist Matt Bigland, drummer Mike Sheils, and bassist Jim Cratchley is “reborn [and] ravenous for bigger crowds, broader stages and the fresh blood of fans’ ears.” The new album’s “darker, more intense vibes” invoke comparisons to Deftones, Smashing Pumpkins, and Nirvana, and is the first Dinosaur Pile-Up set to feature a full band for the recording sessions—a duty Bigland handled himself on two previous efforts.
The group’s first two albums are actually solo projects that feature Bigland singing and playing the instruments on every track. In 2010, Growing Pains “rudely introduced a vivid and chaotic band, built on a turbo-charged bedrock of Foo Fighters, Weezer and Nirvana,” continues the Leeds Festival profile. Second outing, 2013’s Nature Nurture, saw the sound develop a “near-split personality, with calmer surf-rock riffs lulling listeners into a safe place before revving their menacing motor back up and ramming audiences straight back into the pit.”
Eleven Eleven makes its first mark with the title track single stylized as ‘11:11.’ Bigland tells Kerrang! magazine the song began as a riff the trio was playing around with before heading out on tour. “It kept on coming back, so eventually one day I sat down and wrote it, and I was like … ‘This is the start of the new record!’ It was just so … big. It was really exciting,” recalls the frontman. The song is currently No. 27 on the Mediabase Active Rock airplay chart, and No. 28 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs chart.Bigland adds he thinks Eleven Eleven might be a surprise for Dinosaur Pile-Up fans. “It’s a really heavy record,” he says. The 12-track project was recorded at Wales' Rockfield Studio with Royal Blood producer Tom Dalgety, who suggested the band track the whole album live as a way to capture the group’s “raw, live vibe.” A review by UberRock.com adds that while the sound may be heavier, Bigland maintains his “catchy, songwriting suss.”
The brooding 'Crystalline' takes listeners back to the late '90s, while Dinosaur Pile-Up “grunge it up with the best of them” on ‘Anxiety Trip.’ The punked up ‘Bad Penny’ is balanced by ‘Derail’ and the “utterly beautiful” ‘The Way We Came’ before giving way to the “dreamy” album closer, ‘Cross My Heart.’ The latter song is described as being as radio friendly and heartwarming as “anything Dave Grohl put out pre-millennium.” The UberRock review further declares the track proves Bigland hasn’t lost his knack for creating a “sugary sweet, Foos-inspired pop song when he feels the need.”
The analysis concludes by stating that while the ability to mix heavy and loud with mellow and quiet is rarely accomplished with passion and staying power, Bigland has the ability “in abundance” on Eleven Eleven, proving that both are here to stay as a “highly underrated band and a highly recommended album.” Dinosaur Pile-Up is currently on tour, wrapping up U.S. dates Oct. 1 at the Louder Than Life Festival in Louisville, Ky., before heading back to the U.K. for a half-dozen shows (Oct. 6-12). A concert in Zurich (Oct. 14) opens a European tour that extends into December.
Watch Dinosaur Pile-Up in the official music video for the English trio’s new single ‘11:11’ from third studio album, Eleven Eleven.
As A Matter of Fact…
* Dinosaur Pile-Up is an English alternative rock band that formed in late 2007. The outfit from Leeds, West Yorkshire, includes current members Matt Bigland (lead singer, guitar), Mike Sheils (drums), and Jim Cratchley (bass).
* The group started as a solo project for Bigland, who is the former frontman for Mother Vulpine. Dinosaur Pile-Up emerged from the city's alternative rock scene and was soon drawing comparisons to U.S. college rock and grunge acts from the previous decade.
The band's name is taken from a scene in the 2005 remake of “King Kong,” in which a herd of stampeding dinosaurs ends up falling down a hill into a massive pile. The group’s sound and personnel initially fluctuated due to Bigland doing so much on each recording.
* In 2014, Dinosaur Pile-Up settled on a lineup that included ex-Brownies drummer Mike Sheils and Bigland's longtime friend and former Tribes bassist, Jim Cratchley. The band's breakthrough release is 2009's The Most Powerful EP in the Universe!, which led to set on BBC introducing stage at the Leeds Festival.
* Buzz about the band’s high-energy live performances spread quickly and landed Dinosaur Pile-Up an opening slot for the Pixies. Full-length debut album, Growing Pains, was released in October 2010. It features Bigland recording every instrument himself with alt-rock enthusiast James Kenosha handling production.
* Drummer Mike Sheils and bassist Harry Johns signed on for a U.K. tour, and remained with Bigland for subsequent tours of Europe during 2011-2013. Bigland took back sole control of all recording for second album, Nature Nurture, which was released in the U.K. during June 2013.
* The new album helped raise Dinosaur Pile-Up’s profile in the U.S., and the band with Sheils and Cratchley in place launched a stateside tour in 2014. The album and single tracks such as ‘Arizona Waiting’ and ‘Peninsula’ had great success in Japan.