POZ Review: A Great Big Pile Of Leaves - Making Moves

by Zack Zarrillo - Jul 27, 2012

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Brooklyn’s A Great Big Pile Of Leaves can be a bit tough to pin down; their brand of raggedy indie rock has found them touring with a list of acts as diverse as Saves The Day, Hellogoodbye and Mansions and not feeling out of place alongside any. Now, their connections with another one-time tour partner—Motion City Soundtrack, whose synth op Jesse Johnson manages the group—have lead to the band recording a 7” as part of the Making Moves series, an ongoing collaboration between MCS and Drexel University’s MAD Dragon Records.

A Great Big Pile Of Leaves have a very distinctive, if hard to describe sound; there are particular keys they return to often, chord changes and rhythmic patterns that wend their way through many, if not most, of the band’s songs, a sonic fingerprint that leaves Making Moves immediately placeable for anyone familiar with their past work. While each of the tracks here takes a completely different stylistic approach, melodically they feel like three sides of the same coin (which, if you think about it, is really quite a feat)

Most straightforward is “Pet Mouse,” a mid-tempo rocker with an insistent bass hook and a boisterous, Weezer-y lead that captures the raucous energy of the band’s live set better than anything they’ve recorded to date. “Writing Utensil” sounds like fan-favorite “We Don’t Need Our Heads” (from the band’s 2010 full-length Have You Seen My Prefrontal Cortex?) played at half-time, slouching out of creaky feedback to laze in the sun a bit before corroding into squealy decay and bang-on-a-can drums. And “Ambiversion” flips off the power entirely with a close-mic’d acoustic guitar balanced by Pete Weiland’s echoey, reverb-y vocals, coming off vaguely like something out of an early Bright Eyes number.

While none of the tracks here make for killer single material, Making Moves is a solid survey of A Great Big Pile Of Leaves’ multifarious looks; it’s also the best-produced collection the band has released. As the foursome enter the studio to record LP2, this 7” should do well to tide over longtime fans and whet the appetites of newcomers alike.

★★★.5/★★★★★

by Jesse Richman, edited by Emily Coch

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