"Bruxist Grin", the latest single from Pile, details the distressing experience of vocalist and guitarist Rick Maguire’s first panic attack.
Over the course of their six records, Pile have always employed an agitated and meticulous amalgamation of both tender and furious song sections, often tied together by inventive instrumental segues and performed with a heavy emotive flair. Consequently, it seems logical that there needn’t be too much in the way of change on the new single to convey the experience of Maguire’s panic attack, occurring at a stressful time between moving house and recording. The template was already there for them to employ as they pleased.
Where Pile have taken "Bruxist Grin", however, is to a space that exacerbates the varying dynamics more so than they’ve done previously. Getting Kevin S. McMahon (Titus Andronicus, Swans) behind the decks may have helped, though the band have undeniably invested in the tension on which both the moments of vulnerability and exasperation rest. Maguire’s cries are anguished and unsettling, and the instrumentation is one moment soothing, the next jarring.
Not strictly an easy listen, it’s nonetheless a raw and eveloping reflection of Maguire’s experience. In other words, pretty much what Pile have been doing so well all along.
"I wrote ‘Bruxist Grin’ when I was getting ready to move," Maguire explains. "I'd been showing people my place to take my apartment, and getting my life together to go make this record to then move two days after the session. It was a super tight timeline and I went to bed and had a panic attack. I hadn’t had one before, and I thought it came on kind of like a psychedelic experience, like when the acid starts to kick in and it’s like 'oh, here we go.' My heart was pounding and I didn’t know what was happening but I knew that there was a lot about my current way of living that was about to change and I assume it was just my body reacting to all of it.
"It was pitch black, and I perceived looking at myself and my position to the rest of the world, physically, psychologically and spiritually, and feeling this overwhelming anxiety, and that’s what the song’s about."