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Pile create sprawling soundscapes of existential inquisition on All Fiction

"All Fiction"

Release date: 17 February 2023
Pile - All Fiction cover
14 February 2023, 00:00 Written by Adam Wright

Fifteen years in – and now on their eighth album, All Fiction – Boston-based Pile’s ever-evolving take on noise-rock has continually searched for ways to push the genre’s boundaries.

Beginning life as a series of ideas in 2019, eventually frontman Rick Maguire galvanised the band together in the studio in 2021. The additions and effects from this time have yielded Pile's most adventurous album yet. Layered synths, air duct samples and a string quartet accompanied erratic drums to create an imposing, if slightly off-kilter, plethora of sound.

Getting its name from what the band see as the lack of objective reality, All Fiction embodies its subject matter. Adopting a freeform style to create a core sound as fragmented as it is ambitious, the record’s musical complexities dive the listener deep into an intense world that questions the existence of reality; doing so in a chaotic and ever-changing way.

There’s an array of sounds showcased throughout, from subdued atmospheres made of dreamy synths (“It Comes Closer”; “Lowered Rainbow” “Neon Gray”) to blistering storms of rampant drums and diverging guitars (“Loops”; “Poisons”; “Nude With A Suitcase”).

The sonic juxtaposition ensures a comfortable listening experience remains elusive throughout – mirroring the struggle for answers to the existential inquisition explored by the record.

This ferocity speaks to the band’s original roots while incorporating more delicate sounds suggests the direction the band may wish to explore further. The pushing and pulling from hellish raucousness to haunting mists create an edgy and unknowing discomfort within All Fiction; one that becomes the album’s dominating mood.

While the unsettled nature of All Fiction creates the atmosphere that drives it, it can sometimes leave the record feeling a little too disjointed. For example, the instrumentation of “Link Arms” and “Gardening Hours” feel too disparate, preventing these cuts from finding their feet.

All Fiction is an inquisitive dive into Pile’s new chapter of musical creativity. Though its exploration sometimes lacks cohesion, it succeeds in pushing the group’s sound to levels of experimentation.

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