Dinosaur Pile-Up – Nature Nurture (Album Review)

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Leeds alternative rockers Dinosaur Pile-up have unleashed their second album, ‘Nature Nurture’. The band formed after lead singer and guitarist Matt Bigland’s previous band, Mother Vulpine, split in 2007, although he had already recorded a demo tape before the split. The band’s unusual name came from Matt’s viewing of the 2005 King Kong movie, which he hated, in which a group of dinosaurs tumble down a hill and land in a heap. He decided Dinosaur Pile-Up would be a great name for a band there and then, years before the band came together.

The album opens with ‘Arizona Waiting’, which jumps both feet into an upbeat rock track with a retro feel to it. It has echoes of the Britpop of the nineties; achieving a fast-paced, energetic track, while somehow retaining a laid-back, casual attitude. It’s pleasurably nostalgic, while still being totally in tune with modern indie rock fans.

They pull back with second track ‘Derail’, slowing things down a little, but still keeping that addictive beat. It sounds so familiar; like something I’ve been listening to since childhood. But it’s fresh too, with Matt Bigland’s vocals cheeky and playful. He can certainly play the part of the rock-band-heartthrob.

The tracks are as inwardly conflicting as the album’s title – two different impulses fighting against one another. The music is youthful yet mature, retro yet modern, energetic yet thoughtful.

‘Peninsula’ brings some truly impressive guitar riffs interspersed with acapella vocals. ‘Heather’ pulls some grungey punk influences into the album. ‘Summer Gurl’ is sure to be nothing short of a festival anthem. There’s something so exciting about Dinosaur Pile-Up, but something so familiar too. They’re not a band you need to ‘get into’, with tracks that need to grow on you; it will feel like you’ve been listening to them for years.

‘Draw A Line’ is a stand-out track for me; bringing in classic, foot-stomping punk influences and boldly mixing them with modern indie rock. There are so many different styles pulled into this album, and Matt Bigland is an absolute chameleon of a vocalist. The vocals in ‘Start Again’ barely sound like those through the rest of the album. He’s versatile and fluid, switching easily between the different tracks and musical genres.

‘Lip Hook Kiss’ is being offered as a free download from their website (www.dinosaurpileup.com), and you’d be crazy not to grab it. I can guarantee you’ll be getting hold of the album after sampling this track. The album ends with title track ‘Nature Nurture’; an indie classic with accents of electronica.

The album is so bold and confident, slick without losing the rough edge you want from your indie rock. Every bit the professional musicians, it’s still easy to imagine them practising in garages, or doing their time playing gigs in tiny, smokey pubs. Dinosaur Pile-Up head out on tour next month, and I’d urge you to catch them if you can. If they’re this exciting on a studio album, I can only imagine how great they’re going to be live. This is your new favourite band.