Upon seeing the video for Dinosaur Pile-Up's latest single Derail, it was clear that Matt Bigland's gang from Leeds were going to be making an obvious lunge towards the mainstream. The video itself has high production values and the song is a mid-paced rich sounding melodic rock song that would not have sounded out of place amongst any of the singles that Feeder have put out in the past decade. Dinosaur Pile-Up have always worn their influences quite readily upon their sleeve so you could say that this is more like their Colour and Shape than their Pinkerton, but Nature Nurture is not quite the huge leap in sound that Derail suggests.
What Nature Nurture mostly trades on is those big, summery power pop songs that they have thus far made their name in peddling. The opening song, Arizona Waiting, sets proceedings off in fine form with a huge wall of power chords and a bouncing pop punk riff that Jimmy Eat World would be proud to call one of their own. Elsewhere is the snarling hard rock assault of Heather, the very Weezer-esque White T-shirt and Jeans and the brilliant hooky fun of Peninsula. Dinosaur Pile-Up have always been great at writing these big dumb anthems so it is no surprise that these new songs come off so well. There is a notable sheen applied to the ragged edge displayed on their debut, Growing Pains.
Elsewhere on the album, Dinosaur Pile-Up move away from their tried and tested formula with thrilling results. The previously mentioned Derail could well be their first proper classic tune and The Way We Came adds acoustic guitars into a more sombre take on their usual fare. Closer to home, Lip Hook Kiss adds a layer of hissing synths and Nature Nurture - the title track - is the only song which exceeds four minutes, utilising a steady, pounding sledgehammer riff. Epic stuff.
You get a sense throughout Nature Nurture that Dinosaur Pile-Up are a band in transition; stuck somewhere between the big pop punk monsters they can probably write blindfolded with any number of limbs tied behind their backs, and a more considered, dynamic and cinematic sound which they continually hint at. The sky is the limit for Dinosaur Pile-Up and only time will tell what they are capable of creating.
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