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REVIEW:  A GREAT BIG PILE OF LEAVES/”You’re Always On My Mind”

From the plaintive and nostalgic opening on “Snack Attack”, A Great Big Pile of Leaves’ second full CD is an engaging work that manages to be a piece of masterfully rendered pop with enough maturity to keep it from sounding redundant. Lead singer Pete Weiland sings in an unassuming manner, which gives a story-teller feel to glibly clever lyrics. Weiland’s vocal technique contrasts with the disarmingly melodic background vocals, providing a density that blends well with the clean jangle of guitar chords and an adept rhythm section. This approach would be enough to provide a group of amiable pop tunes, but Weiland manages to phrase certain lines that give them a definite resonance to the careful listener. “Back to School” is a perfect example of this technique. For most of the song, the singer expresses the achy nostalgia of September that we all connect with. Then, right before the last chorus, the musical background is abruptly hushed, and Weiland stretches out the line “I’m never in the present tense”. The effect is formidable and gives the song its intensity. Matthew Fazzi’s guitar work effective without ever being self-indulgent. His tuneful soloing is appreciated, and his cleanly chiming chord work lend the release much of its pop magnetism.

A Great Big Pile of Leaves should propel the band into some notoriety; or they will be one of those groups who cause me to lament,, “Why isn’t everyone listening to this band?”

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