A Great Big Pile of Leaves - The Fiery Works
Record Label: None
Release Date: November 20, 2007
The duo of lead vocalist/guitarist Pete Weiland and drummer Tyler Soucy comprise the cool pop/melodic rock outfit A Great Big Pile of Leaves, but don’t let the slim size of this band deflect you away. Their melodic esthetics, euphonic tones, and plush ambient-pop permutations have a resemblance to the fully-spruced sounds of Melee and The Fratellis, while Weiland’s vocals purvey a soothing persuasion that’s stoutly endowed with reflections of Daphne Loves Derby’s lead vocalist Kenny Choi and As Tall As Lions’ Dan Nigro. The guitar parts have synth textures that resonate with the satiny fluctuations of Sirens Sister and the melodic consonance of Le Concorde. A Great Big Pile of Leaves sound like they were influenced by the best parts of Keane, Radiohead, and The Kooks and then mashed it all up to create various melodic configurations in their songs for their self-recorded six song EP The Fiery Works.
The band is offering free downloads of their EP, which is mastered by Alan Douches (Brand New, Sufjan Stevens). Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, A Great Big Pile of Leaves show melodic streaks that can be compared to ’80s shoegaze bands like The Smiths and Echo and the Bunnymen in tracks like “User’s Guide to a Coloring Book” and “Conscious and the Fiery Works,” but there is a contemporary vibe in these songs that prevent them from sounding retro and more in line with A Fine Frenzy and Test Your Reflex. The slight calypso flavoring in the guitar accents on “Work Eat Sleep” latch onto the cool-pop lifting beats, and the country flange in the guitar series on “This is a Country Song” has a rhythmic suction reminiscent of The Kooks while the circular phrasing of the emo-soaked melodics permeate a satiny feathering. The synth textured guitars of “Mystery of the Brain” have the ambient echoes of Keane, and the uptempo rhythm and elliptical chord movements in “Hey Tangerine” make pauses and melodic build ups that cause a soft teetering action.
The lyrical content of “Hey Tangerine” joins in with the uptempo jostles of the melody by being equally upbeat: “Hey fancy feet / Skinny jeans / Hips equipped / Pillows, sheets / Oh, ice cream / Frozen treats / Brain freeze / You’re a gentle breeze / You’re the hottest heat / You make the birds sing.” The lyrics make little sense when strung together, but taken apart each line has its own fragmented thought, observation, and impression. The lyrics are like separate ideas that are jotted down and then arbitrarily pulled together in each song. They are not deep thinking lyrics but have a poppy type of phrasing that the group Hanson could be heard singing in their teen years.
A Great Big Pile of Leaves have put together a really good collection of cool-pop/melodic rock tunes that make an excellent stocking stuffer for Christmas. Their songs are written about girls from a guy’s point of view in songs like “Hey Tangerine,” which makes them likable for both sexes. So guys don’t have to feel so alienated by the melodic tingles and delicate tones in the songs, the lyrics of which speak on behalf of them, while also speaking to the girls.
Alright, let me start off by saying that I DO like almost all of this EP. I think this may be the first band that's ever added me on myspace that I've received any bit of enjoyment from. I've listened to this record probably 6 or 7 times now, so I think I can shed some light on this for people who for some reason don't know how to download the EP from their website.
My best depiction of their sound would have to be low-key Appleseed Cast...for girls. There are hints of Broken Social Scene and an obvious Minus the Bear/Sharks Keep Moving influence. When my friends and I were getting first into American Football, this is the kind of music we played; I can hear many of the same chords and pull-offs and such that are increasingly prevalent as you get bored with the same old guitar shit.
Personally, I think "Hey Tangerine" should have been left off the record. My other thing is, I think they need maybe one more vocalist, with a little more power, maybe someone who could play bass, or second guitar live, and sing really loud and a bit higher than their main singer. I like his voice, the low-tones are cool, and he does seem to project pretty well, but it gets old and often seems like something is missing. I think when they have 15-20 songs, and they can weed out stuff that's not very great, they will be able to put out a really killer first LP. I do think they should consider one more member before they reach that point, though.
Like I said, despite my criticism, I do like this record and listen to it quite a bit. Check it out for yourself!