Dinosaur Pile-Up, it’s fair to say, plough a rare furrow for a new band these days. In a year dominated by the sterile synthesizer, Matt Bigland & Co appear to be the U.K’s sole purveyors of grunge-pop (a genre that died a death with Weezer’s credibility and although their debut album Growing Pains is achingly indebted to American influences, it provides enough cheap thrills to keep us entertained.
The record begins with ‘Birds & Planes’ – a rollicking juggernaut of a track, all amps to 11, and power chords a plenty. ‘Barce-loner’ zips by in similar fashion, its pummelling drums and bestial bass demonstrative of the simple pleasures that define pop music. From here on in, Growing Pains offers up little in the way of surprises -‘Broken Knee’, ‘Mona Lisa’ and ‘My Rock n’ Roll’ regurgitating a winning, albeit unoriginal formula. In their ceaseless endeavour to ape early Foo Fighters and Presidents Of The U.S.A, the Yorkshire trio spend much of this LP tightrope walking between homage and pastiche.
On occasion, some cringe worthy blunders are made. The lighters’ aloft balladry of ‘Hey You’ sees the band drifting dangerously into M.O.R. territory. While the brain-dead bombast of ‘All Around The World’, does much to taint an otherwise enjoyable album. However, despite its obvious drawbacks, Growing Pains is a worthwhile listen. If often a ‘meat & potatoes’ affair, Dinosaur Pile-Up deliver as substantial a meal as we’ll get all year. Still, a bit of dressing wouldn’t go amiss next time.