Nature Nurture

Dinosaur Pile-Up

So, 2014

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Three things I like: 1) Oliveburgers 2) '90s rock 3) Artists that write their own songs and play all the instruments on their albums.

I don't know if Matt Bigland owns a grill, but I do know he is the mastermind behind Nature Nurture, the 11-song second album from British alt-rockers Dinosaur Pile-Up. Bigland has a little songwriting help on a couple of the tracks, but otherwise this is all him. And a quick run-through of the tracks shows an obvious debt to late '90s rock like Green Day, Foo Fighters, Deftones, Bush and Hoobastank, with a nod to Nirvana in spots.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The trick with music like this is to make the familiar seem fresh, and by and large Bigland succeeds even if the disc sounds like it came out in 1998. The 11 songs are hooky, fun and energetic, possessing the sort of nascent fire that young bands often have before they become successful and move toward big arena-ready choruses and personal chefs on tour. "Heather" is what the Foo Fighters used to sound like, "Summer Gurl" is a blast of pure alt-rock back when it was kind of fun and "The Way We Came" is a moody mid-tempo piece with an insistent vocal hook.

Bigland has an affinity for punk and uses that energy to color some of the songs, most notably "Draw A Line," "Peninsula" and the stop-start of "Start Again." He also is perfectly fine with a crunchy power chord, as on "White T-Shirt And Jeans" and the closing title cut, but true to the intent of the disc, most of the songs have a pop rock appeal of the headbanging kind, not the wimpy chart-baiting kind.

The album was made amid controversy – Bigland's two bandmates quit during recording – but you wouldn't know it from the singular vision and pure fun of the record. Split between the pop-punk tunes and the more fleshed-out rockers, several of the songs don't always make an impact even after repeated listens, but the best of them are a welcome breath of fresh air. Here's hoping Bigland doesn't go extinct anytime soon.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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