The Dash and Flash of Pile

Girls like goofy. The question is, how to be goofy and cool, at once. Pile knows how. It helps to be spot-on musicians, which they are, with deft, baroque but clean guitar lines, and disciplined drums. On their new album, dripping, they sport a hard-hitting sound, that’s always spunky and happy, and never dark, however daring they get, which they do.

The vocals have a charming, “aw shucks” quality, but they are always in tune, and never invasive, allowing the instruments to wash over them like waves. Check out the titles: “Baby Boy”, “Grunt Like a Pig”, “Sun Poisoning”, “Bubble Gum”. It’s kind of like a string of kid’s books crossed with psychedelic comics.

The dynamics are great, too. They come and go, like the rhythms of a dripping faucet. And sometimes the spigot is turned on full throttle, peppy and people-loving. The songs often have a folk-like quality, with their light finger picking, but the stuff always rocks, sometimes with strange breaks of string free-for-alls.

Sometimes they get hardcore, but it’s always in fun, with a big, pretty sound that loves everyone. “Prom Song” may be the highlight of the album, with twinges of the Nirvana of “In Bloom” (Nevermind). The song builds with grand romantic tones like a high school couple basking in the lights of the gussied-up gym, late in the evening.

Like Nirvana, they can get wild, but they always end up on their feet. They’re the kids you envied at school, who could jump and twist on the dance floor without ever getting hurt. And this is healing music, with a good dose of happy tones that travel through your brains like the nutrients of a good salad.

Pile plays at O’Brien’s Pub in Allston, on Sunday, August 11.


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