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Album Review: Eleven Eleven by Dinosaur Pile-Up

Alt Grunge Yorkshiremen Dinosaur Pile-Up have released their third album Eleven Eleven. The album follows the flow from the pop-grunge of their 2009 debut Growing Pains through to the more abrasive Nature Nurture (2013). While retaining the distinctive Dinosaur Pile-Up sound it’s heavier, more raucous and a little less polished.

The raw energy is apparent from the heavy grunge laden riffs of the title track opener. Matt Bingland’s vocal sounds more menacing and stretched, while the guitars and drums come in crashing around you. ‘Red and Purple’ has more of the immediate hooks that initially made Dinosaur Pile-Up such an enthralling band. It simmers with energy, sporadically bursting out when the chorus kicks in. There’s more of that sinister grunge energy in ‘Grim Valentine’ with the pop hooks sitting on top of 90s esque riffs. The Bleach-era Nirvana style riff sends a shiver down the spine, yet there’s a sense that Bingland doesn’t quite know what direction to take Dinosaur Pile-Up.

With ‘Friend Of Mine’ and ‘Nothing Personal’ there’s a real magic to the music, the big grunge riffs are formidable and enthralling – the latter really excels with the solo – yet you feel the tracks are let down slightly by Bingland’s vocal. It sits at the front of mix, becoming the focal point, but it isn’t strong enough – it feels part formed and lacks the range of his guitar playing. Conversely ‘Anxiety Trip’ sees Bingland making the best of his vocal; it doesn’t feel as flat and works with the churning riffs. The colossal riffs push the band towards their heaviest moment to date.

Dinosaur Pile-Up shine when they go for a pop grunge sound. ‘Might As Well’ and ‘Cross My Heart’ are the most instantaneous and best tracks on Eleven Eleven by some distance. Both are thrilling listens and as standalone singles could be big hits for the band. There’s traces of a Therapy?-esque sound on ‘Bad Penny’ unsurprisingly making it another standout point. Both ‘Crystalline’ and ‘Willow Tree’ have many of the ingredients to be great tracks, but seem to fall just short of the mark. Don’t get me wrong here, both are good tracks and really enjoyable, the pounding riffs in ‘Willow Tree’ are of the highest calibre yet you just feel that there’s something missing that could’ve pushed the band onto the next level.

While Eleven Eleven may have its downsides it ends up being an addictive listen. There are enough hooks and riffs to sucker you in and make you listen multiple times. You just feel that perhaps Dinosaur Pile-Up haven’t lived up to their potential.

AD Rating 6.75/10

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