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How much is frontman Rick Maguire's definition of success changing as he embarks on tour to support You're Better Than This? Most would have been pretty damn happy with themselves after the release of 2012's Dripping, a record that has more dynamic shifts than any guitar-driven band has cared to flare in a decade. It ebbs and flows (with decidedly murky water) so many paces ahead of your ears, you don't realize you missed the big chorus until two minutes later (See 'The Jones'). The first time you hear its conclusion, your mouth will hang open. "That didn't sound like an album closer!" "What is wrong with these dudes?" "I thought he was going to scream more!"

And yeah, the screaming is reserved for only the choicest moments on this new album, too - and Maguire can really fucking wail. If you want more of it, too bad. The band is on to bigger and better time signatures and hardcore punk nuances than you can shake a metronome at. And when they're not writhing in self-deprecating guitar filth, they're confounding with squelches and cute melodies much farther down on the volume knob. Since they shift decibels so often, you have to listen to You're Better Than This at a pretty high volume. You'll get the punchy opener 'The World Is Your Motel' in any state since Maguire sounds like he's shouting from a soapbox about how his résumé "well, isn't impressive, but it's consistent." But, immediately after is keeper 'Mr. Fish', where he tells an obtuse story about a drifter who "tries hard to disappear" and "wakes up in the middle of the ocean." If you were fooled by the raucous opener, you'll miss the first tender part of this tracks prettiness.

That said, if you do let yourself be conformed to each track, the rollercoaster will be wilder. 'Touched by Comfort' dabbles in both extremes of the bands spectrum, the first half lullabying you to sleep with a story where Maguire casually looks for something to set on fire before drum sounds from a basement apartment creep back into the frame. The confusion of pastiche is briefly wiped away during the next tracks peaceful acoustic instrumental serenade where a much needed ear break can be had. What's the song called? 'Fuck the Police', of course.

Pile sound like a condensed version of Modest Mouse's raging epic 'Teeth Like God's Shoeshine' - Maguire sings very prettily at times, but also knows how to vent self-deprecation better than anyone since 90s-era Isaac Brock. He's having brushes with the devil on '#2 Hit Single', but still struggles to cook food for himself on 'The World Is Your Motel'. What comes from the disparity is a sense of dread despite most of the songs' major-key tones. There's pictures of a crying clown on top of a pile of trash on the cover, after all. Reminiscing with Maguire about this paranoia helps the album play like an empathetic conversation with a similarly concerned friend after a couple of drinks. If you're hurting, these songs can help you healthily purge.

When not wallowing in the self-pity, Pile make it easy to revel and celebrate in it. Some of the vocal notes on 'Tin Foil Hat' are just plain whiney, but if Maguire hadn't already made out with your attention, you wouldn't be hearing the section. Getting through You're Better Than This makes the prospect of discussing the band with other fans a tantalizing proposition. You'll want to hop around Boston bars looking for people who have been present for Pile's rise to post-hardcore cult heroes. These people are likely the type you know from neighborhood bars or your side-job, and the record is a continuation of Pile as voice for a bizarre following that it simultaneously evokes and has, apparently, tangibly brought together. Just don't expect to know where the snare hits will be, and you'll be part of the following. Here's hoping Maguire keeps this well in mind if he's still struggling as much as his prose would suggest.

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