Pile | A Hairshirt of Purpose
Pile, born in Boston straight from the mind of frontman Rick Maguire, has garnered some attention as one of the city’s newest indie rock bands on the rise. Their fifth release, A Hairshirt of Purpose, is the band’s first attempt at a cohesive album. Unlike the compilation of disjointed hits that made up previous attempts, Pile’s latest has a thin narrative shackling the songs together.
A Hairshirt of Purpose, swings between lively and droning vocals: the ferocious and pensive dance around each other throughout the album. A hypnotizing guitar repeats over varying hums and groans with the album’s opener, “Worms,” but soon gives way to thrashing guitars and clamoring drums as “Hissing for Peace” crashes the somber mood.
The moments that step away from boisterous anthems set this album apart from the band’s previous experiments. “Leaning on the Wheel” is the longest track on A Hairshirt of Purpose and truly takes its time meandering through the ballad, “not happy and not in love, but let’s have a baby to save the marriage that we made up.” The song suddenly takes a turn as hammering piano keys build up into the next track “Texas,” the heaviest song on the album.
The piano instrumental, “I Don’t Want To Do This Anymore” cools down the album after heavy guitar and drum laden tracks. The break in action creates the space necessary for “Dogs” to start with Maguire crooning over the simple plucking of his guitar strings.
“Fingers” closes out A Hairshirt of Purpose as the 13 th track. It builds up to be the rock anthem listeners familiar with Pile were probably waiting for. Intricate lyrics dip and twist between break downs. The chaotic atmosphere concluding the album further establishes that Pile is a rock band that thrives on the stage.
Taking some steps back, Pile redesigns their thrashing chants to hold a little more meaning. Beefing up their songwriting, a plotline is hidden somewhere in the mix. A Hairshirt of Purpose is a step in a new direction while keeping older elements, a snapshot of a band on the move.