“SKY COMING CRASHING DOWN YOU WANNA FEEL WHEN IT’S OVER??” screeches Matt Bigland, grand overlord of Dinosaur Pile-Up (and only consistent band member) on Arizona Waiting; a song that brims with the kind of breathless, sweaty intensity of a band keen to prove they’re more than just a one-dimensional riff-machine. Nature Nurture develops much of the mammoth density of 2010’s Growing Pains and evolves it into a selection of power-pop rock songs and feedback-scrawled grunge-anthems.
As openers go, the aforementioned Arizona Waiting is an absolute belter – the pursuit-laced lyrics, not to mention its frantic hard-rock pace and huge-crushing guitars, coupled with Bigland’s strained vocal-yelps are fantastic and the breakdown around the 1:50 mark is thunderous. A heart-racing kick-start to an album that doesn’t disappoint over the remaining 10 tracks, which all vary in style and execution, yet retain much of that trademark DP-U sound and Bigland’s distinctive vocals, which switch from an almost nasal-whine to a melodic drawl and a throaty rasp.
The aptly named Summer Gurl fits the season perfectly – poppy-as-hell, it has that bright, seasonal-twang of blistering sunshine, coupled with some sparse and frothy Therapy?-style riffage, that sounds like a brewing storm. Whilst Growing Pains might have been a Dave Grohl love-letter, Nature Nurture leans more on the side of eyelid-batting and blown-kisses to Rivers Cuomo. Exhibit A is the ‘belongs on the Green Album’ fuzz of White T-Shirt and Jeans; a low-slung, grunge-rock number, squealing and fit to burst with gorgeous melody and crispness (much like Weezer’s Knock Down Drag-Out).
Whilst Growing Pains might have been a Dave Grohl love-letter, Nature Nurture leans more on the side of eyelid-batting and blown-kisses to Rivers Cuomo..
Peninsula is an erratic, bouncing power-pop adrenalin rush, full of overlapping vocals, off-kilter guitar-solos and thick-bass rumbles – it’s an explosive, shredding blast of raw power harnessing the sense of sweaty, crowded basement shows, where the crowd-swarms the stage to join in the exuberant backing-vocals shouts.
Lyrically, Derail is a mournful train wreck of a songÂ – “I’m an avalanche, ready to crumble…” mumbles Bigland, who laces a somewhat bitter and sardonic tone, with the punchy, yet despondent chorus of “you are only going to bring me down…” – yet, there’s enough grit and sharpness on what is a fairly dark and hollow-sounding tale of abandonment. Draw A Line is reminiscent of a low-fi, punk rock Foo Fighters via Lagwagon on a sugar-rush and is an absolute stormer with live-favourite written all over it in big ink.
Lip Hook Kiss channels riff after dirty riff, like some unstable tower constructed of grungy, dilapidated guitars. There’s that ringing low end blast of Deftones-metal present; buried beneath the buzzing chords, whilst Bigland’s echoing drumbeats have a strong stoner-rock feel, whilst the title track is a hook-drenched slow-burner of crashing power-chords, channelling that slacker-rock laid-back groove of reckless optimism.
Nature Nurture doesn’t reinvent the wheel – but Dinosaur Pile-Up aren’t about that. What they are about is bulldozing killer hooks and brilliant songs into your ears and they do so with this collection of 90s-style grunge-meets-pop-rock exuberance.