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"Hot Air Balloon EP": Pile’s B sides do not disappoint.

By Chelsea Bossert - Music Director


Photo courtesy of Pile Bandcamp

Formed in 2005, Pile — a Boston-based indie rock band now located in Nashville — has been on a creative streak as of the last couple years. After releasing their cult classic record “Dripping” in 2012, Pile has been putting out a record about every two years including “A Hairshirt of Purpose” in 2017 and “All Fiction” which was released last year. 


Their newest release, “Hot Air Balloon EP,” is a collection of five B sides in just under 20 minutes. While each song is not anything groundbreaking, Pile’s ingenuity and prowess in their niche indie rock lane rings true on this latest batch of songs. 


Starting off with “Scaling Walls,” Pile’s lead vocalist Rick Maguire gives a pretty great vocal performance and the instrumentals do a good job of highlighting his vocal melodies. Next is “The Birds Attacked My Hot Air Balloon,” a more peaceful and lowkey track with a post-rock inspired ambient atmosphere. 


My favorite track, “Only For A Reminder,” takes a more indietronic approach to its structure, with arpeggiated synth hits and spacey vocal passages. While being the longest track, it definitely doesn’t take its time or meander. 


The last two tracks, “Exits Blocked” and “You Get To Decide” do a great job of closing out the EP and keeping the tracklist interesting. All of the songs on “Hot Air Balloon” are varied yet come together cohesively. They really could have been on “All Fiction,” however I understand their inclusion here. 


B-sides are tricky to handle sometimes. Should they be their own release? Are they even important enough on their own since they were not included on the main project? Why should I care to listen? 


Well I can’t really answer that. 


Anyways, listen to Pile. (6/10)

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