Indie-rock workhorses Pile age gracefully on their seventh album, Green and Gray | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Indie-rock workhorses Pile age gracefully on their seventh album, Green and Gray 

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Elisabeth Fuchsia

Few contemporary indie-rock bands deliver as consistently as Boston’s Pile. Roughly every other year since 2007, they’ve dropped a collection of pummeling, direct songs executed with posthardcore aggression and postrock grandeur, their lyrics carrying a twinge of subversive indignation. Their seventh studio album, May’s Green and Gray (Exploding in Sound), arrives following a time of transition. Guitarist Matt Becker and bassist Matt Connery left the band after 2017’s A Hairshirt of Purpose, and front man Rick Maguire moved to Nashville, where he was joined by two new members, former touring guitarist Chappy Hull and bassist Alex Molini. (Drummer Kriss Kuss stayed in Boston.) The songs on Green and Gray reflect some of these changes, and Maguire—long a wry and impressionistic lyricist—has become an even more penetrating writer and performer as he’s settled into his 30s. On the somber “My Employer,” he sings about his workaholism and the pain it’s caused him and his loved ones, his inflection suggesting a wealth of complicated emotions behind his self-confessed bad habits. Green and Gray displays Pile’s command of a nuanced dynamic range—they can be just as heavy in their most intimate passages as in their most explosive.   v

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