June 5, 2019 Dinosaur Pile-Up – Celebrity Mansions (Album Review)
With a name like Dinosaur Pile-Up, how could anyone dare not pay any attention? An Alternative Rock band out of West Yorkshire, England, strangely enough their Eleven Eleven release was delayed by almost a year in the USA, hitting the market in August of 2016 when it was already topping charts in places like Europe and Japan since October of the following year. A situation that they no longer have to stress over, they have a brand new major label deal with Parolphone Records/Roadrunner Records and are set to release their latest album, Celebrity Mansions, on Friday, June 7th.
Looking back, Dinosaur Pile-Up began their journey all the way back in 2007, releasing their debut album Growing Pains in 2010, Nature Nuture in 2013, and the aforementioned successful Eleven Eleven in 2015 and 2016. Consisting of Guitarist/Vocalist Matt Bigland, Drummer Mike Sheils and Bassist Jim Cratchley, the trio can be found everywere leading up to the release of their new album, from SiriusXM’s Octane spinning the single “Back Foot” to other publications calling it ‘one of the most attention-grabbing albums of 2019.’ So, does Celebrity Mansions live up to the hype?
Consisting of 10 new songs, it starts with “Thrash Metal Cassette,” an equal parts Pop Punk and Thrash Metal pace ringing out as a triumphant return, and a rebellious choice of genre meshing. A perfect blend of both elements, it is fun, impossible to ignore, and a perfect way to open the record. Then, with the lead single “Back Foot,” they incorporate Rap Rock styles that were nursed in the ’90s scene. Featuring heavy guitars and bass line with a sound change-up so fast, it is like the best kind of whiplash, it’s a continuous build-up before reaching a melodic peak and then returns to an unstoppable groove.
Transitioning again, “Stupid Heavy Metal Broken Hearted Loser Punk” explodes outward in a sunny array of iron clad Pop Punk sugar and rebel attitude. Full of energy, from its sharp drums all the way to the tight bass and distinctive vocals, it is yet another wild card. This is before the album’s title cut, which is a laid back Grunge type anthem in which Bigland croons, “My time is coming around, don’t know when, don’t know how…” Then, with a more rough edge, “Round the Bend” feels a little more heartfelt and melancholy as it moves into a soft acoustic moment before dipping right back into its Pop Punk lullaby.
The diversity does not stop there, because “Pouring Gasoline” is quite aggressive, reminiscent of the Foo Fighters’ own electric energy. Hammering through chord progressions and raining down drum beats, as comes to its close, rhyming track “Black Limousine” begins acoustically before sliding into electric guitar. Softly sung up until the chorus, and then reverts back into its soft sound, it is somewhere between a break up song and a new love, it is dingy Converse kicks on a rainy prom night.
Then, subtlety and curiously, they pay homage to the rich and famous with “K West.” Perhaps with one rich and famous artist in mind, it is performed with a steady Alternative Rock style with great pacing and a nostalgia-laced melody. A simple and steady song that ties into the bigger picture of Celebrity Mansions, there isn’t much ceremony before “Professional Freak” pops up with heavy repetition and a simply distinctive sound. This is before the ride concludes with the farewell letter “A Long Way Down.” A bittersweet ending, “so are you listening?” questions Bigland among sympathetic guitar lines, steady subtle bass, and crashing drums before fading out with the repeated question.
When it is all said and done, Celebrity Mansions successfully combines different elements of Rock. Where others have tried and only ever ended up with a schizophrenic sound, Dinosaur Pile-Up not only have an awareness of song structure, but an intuitive grasp of how to meld styles together. Able to combine styles, keeping the sound unique and fresh, Cryptic Rock gives Celebrity Mansions 4.5 out 5 stars.