For Fans Of
A Great Big Pile Of Leaves made the decision on their new record ‘You’re Always On My Mind’ to work with an outside producer for the first time in their career. They opted to go with Ed Ackerson, a relatively unknown producer past his local reach, but a wise choice by the band as he has given their music a new dynamic. Or at least he has honed in on a particular dynamic, giving the band’s pop-rock a rustic sheen akin to the sounds of the late nineties.
The opening track, and one of the album’s highlights, ‘Snack Attack’, demonstrates all this perfectly. A bouncy little number that lets its guitar lines shine and do most of the driving, offset perfectly against Pete Weiland’s low vocals and gentle harmonies. Everything is nice and tight, with plenty of space allowed for all sorts of intricacies.
Another highlight follows soon after with ‘Pet Mouse’, which features guest vocals from Motion City Soundtrack’s Justin Pierre, in a very Motion City sounding song, once again made awesome by its solid guitar lines. The pinnacle sits right in the middle however, with ‘Back To School’, a song that takes cues from Little Red and Dave Matthews Band at various points. It is all put together in a very interesting and unique mix that is the band’s own.
The latter half of the record chills out significantly with songs like the placid ‘Fun In The Sun’, which does feature moments of energy, but for the most part sums up the relaxed vibe of the entire record. The few criticisms that can be made are the lack of variety in sounds. The same tones are used for all of the songs and it would be good to see the band change it up a little. However, on the whole, your ears will be happy with you for playing them this record.
The outside element of a producer has done wonders for A Great Big Pile Of Leaves, making changes that could only please the band’s existing fans and pave the way for a slew of new ones. ‘You’re Always On My Mind’ is possibly their most defined and enjoyable release to date.
1. Snack Attack
2. Flying Fish
3. Pet Mouse
4. Slumber Party
5. Back To School
8. Fun In The Sun
9. Locus Of Control
11. Learning Curves