Green and Gray is the seventh album from Boston post-hardcore outfit Pile, which now more than ever centers around singer-songwriter Rick Maguire, who recently relocated to Nashville.
As usual, the masters of noise have made a difficult album with an underlying elegance. Green and Gray has more refined production than their prior Pile albums, but it still ignores typical songwriting structure, with hardly a verse-chorus-verse pattern to be found. Instead, the band challenges the listener with form, instrumentation and lyrical content. The album overall has a melancholic sound, with only a few tracks picking up the pace.
The band takes on such difficult topics as growing older as an artist and “The Soft Hands of Stephen Miller,” a bitter jab at the Trump advisor. The standout track, “My Employer,” features minimal instrumentation and quiet lyrics, in which Maguire sings, “I found fire when I was 12 / It’s lasted over 20 years” and “work comes first.”
If you like a good challenge, then you will enjoy Green and Gray, but definitely don’t listen to it while trying to do something else. This album demands your whole attention.