While it might not be obvious from just listening to the record, Dinosaur Pile-Up‘s fourth effort ‘Celebrity Mansions’ comes from a place where the trio were seriously questioning whether continuing as a band was worth it anymore.
As such, self-assessment and acknowledgement of the success of others serves as the bedrock of this LP, while refusing to fall into a melancholic mode in any sense. Instead, this proves to be a release that not only addresses the band’s own questions, but also says a big “fuck you” to the idea of doing things artificially, and, in turn, the Leeds lot create one of the most fun punk releases of the entire year.
Frontman Matt Pinefield is insincere in his self-depreciation, as the title of ‘Professional Freak’ would suggest, and that theme floats through the entirety of the album. Pinefield often deploys super sassy, blasé spoken word, eye-rolled vocals that just ooze panache, like on the meaty-riffed ‘Back Foot’ and the Weezer-like title-track: a gentle ode to ‘celebrified’ ‘Beverly Hills’ that doesn’t go astray.
Rebelling against celebrity culture in a tongue-in-cheek fashion is Pinefield‘s way of exposing the gaps between a pocket-full-of-money millionaire and a DIY rockstar like himself, as he crones “’cause you’re just dying to fake it / but I’m dying for real” on the flaming opener that is ‘Thrash Metal Cassette’.
Even having that track kick off proceedings is a real middle-finger to expectations, as Dave Grohl-like screams pierce through fuzzy guitars as a message of intent; this record is the music they want to make, and nothing else will do. Tracks like ‘Pouring Gasoline’ and the fabulously-titled ‘Stupid Heavy Metal Broken Hearted Loser Punk’ weigh in on this pissed-off parade, supremely showing the band’s grittier side in abundance.
Yet, it’s not all attitude and anger, with a fair few tracks juxtaposing that harsh tone with luxuriously memorable choruses and melodies. ‘Round The Bend’ is restrained and more melody-focused; ‘Black Limousine’ is catchy as hell; while ‘K West’ is a harmony-ridden ode to the stars.
For a record Dinosaur Pile-Up thought might be their last, this would be some way to go out. Yet, that shouldn’t be the case, as ‘Celebrity Mansions’ shows exactly why the excellent Yorkshire three-piece are here to stay, be loud, and do whatever the hell they want.