Review Summary: Nostalgia trip.
If Celebrity Mansions
by Leeds, UK based Dinosaur Pile-Up had been released in 1992 there is no question in my mind it would have been headed straight to Mtv’s buzz-bin. Matt Pinfield would have referenced obscure 80s punk while introducing the world-premiere video for “Thrash Metal Cassette”, a smoldering rocker conjuring images of Motley Crue and Guns’ N’ Roses at the intersection between glam and grunge. Like, there was still leather but everybody abandoned their Aqua Net. The chorus lands a bit later in our timeline, with a vocal hook clearly born of the mid 90s. I can’t quite place it but have a sneaking suspicion it may have been lifted from Dave Grohl. Regardless, both Kennedy and Jonah Hill would feel completely in their element.
Dinosaur Pile-up obviously love the music they grew up with, and pay homage to it at every turn. There is nary a single moment of music on Celebrity Mansions
that doesn’t reek of the 90s as so much CK1 (I preferred Aspen). Even the album title itself seems to be an amalgamation of work from other artists. Hole (Celebrity Skin) and Weezer (Beverly Hills) immediately spring to mind. Yes reader. Beverly Hills was not released in the 90s. However, there are few bands more emblematic of 90s alternative than Weezer, and the delectably crunchy power-pop guitar tone from the Blue album is baked in to the pie here.
A number of influences should jump out when listening to Dinosaur Pile-Up. Lead singer Matt Bigland tries on many masks here, and most are at least reasonable facsimiles. A bit of snotty tude’ reminiscent of Green Day and Blink-182 is heard frequently, perhaps to best effect on “Stupid Heavy Metal Broken Hearted Loser Punk” (a personal highlight). The Anthony Kiedis impression found in the verse of “Backfoot” might feel as forced as that Wayne’s World sequel if it didn’t yield to the fierce groove of its Toadies-esque chorus. Shades of great radio-rock singles by bands like Lit and Our Lady Peace stand out to me, though your mileage may vary. Dexter Holland is in there somewhere. The Pixies stop by to jam with Matchbox 20. It’s like, a Lollapalooza fever dream…or something.
is not a deep album. It really doesn’t need to be. It packs all the fun and nostalgia from the decade that gave us valley girls, Beavis & Butthead, and the X-Games. It’s all about blasting that noisy guitar rock and singing along to the chorus (perhaps while chugging some Surge with your bros). If you remember when a handful of distorted power-chords and a catchy chorus could launch a star (or if you can identify half of the references in this review) you should give the new Dinosaur Pile-Up album a listen. You’ll probably dig it.