A Giant Dog Record Review
Reviewed by Kevin Curtin, Fri., May 6, 2016
As the popularity of Sweet Spirit froths the ears of even casual observers to Austin's music scene, Andrew Cashen and Sabrina Ellis' pre-existing punk band gets drafted by an important record label and releases their most inspired work. A Giant Dog's fourth punning platter – House, Fight, Bone, and now Pile – arrives comparatively light on melodrama, brimming with live fast/die young missives instead, anthems of restless spirits who drink love and life from the same red plastic cup. AGD "piles" the album's front end with an unblemished five-song sequence beginning with loathing love song "Creep" and ending with Thin Lizzy doo-wop recipe "& Rock & Roll." In betwixt resides melodic punk masterwork "Sleep When Dead," which may be the quintet's strongest single to date. Later, Pile turns a corner into aggressive with sociopath diary "I'll Come Crashing," hitting a wrecking ball with Ellis' vox, Graham Low's spastic bass scrubbing the muck, and erstwhile drummer Orville Bateman Neeley punching the beat like a drill press. That raw (emotional) power then carries over into the triumphant "Too Much Makeup." At close, a final, unexpected, gem: acoustic "Get With You and Get High," wherein Cashen's tender voice overshadows verses by Ellis and Spoon's Britt Daniel. Pillow talk after rough sex.