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A Great Big Pile of Leaves - Pono Music Album Reviews

A Great Big Pile of Leaves - Pono Music Album Reviews
With its wistful musings on adolescence, the indie rock trio’s first album in eight years picks up right where they left off.

For most of their career, A Great Big Pile of Leaves have existed only in fond memory. With their first two albums, 2010’s Have You Seen My Prefrontal Cortex? and 2013’s You’re Always on My Mind, the New England indie rock trio amassed a cult following for their playful songs about classroom banter, carb-heavy meals, and late-night skinny dips. Their disappearance for the better part of the decade only emphasized the wistful nature of those records. Pono, their first album in eight years, picks up right where they left off. An enjoyable if predictable return, AGBPOL’s long-awaited third record sounds less like a sign of progress and more like a grateful nod to the fans who stuck around during the hiatus.

Although AGBPOL’s inception in 2007 coincided with a larger wave of “emo revival” bands, their sound is less abrasive than many of their peers. Their music alternates between the punchy riffs of Algernon Cadwallader and the whimsical breed of 2000s guitar rock dubbed “landfill indie.” Pono often sounds like a postcard from that era, which makes sense: Much of the album’s material was written years ago, some even predating You’re Always on My Mind. So although this isn’t quite a pandemic project, the timing feels appropriate: The narrators of these 10 tracks long for childhood routines like school and summer vacation. Like catching up with an old friend you haven’t seen in god-knows-how-long, the underlying message seems to be, “Weren’t things nice before life got in the way?”

With its nostalgic gaze toward adolescence, Pono sounds nonchalant but never careless. The memories feel precise and purposeful, even if songs about crushes and sneaking out can easily border on hackneyed. In the highlight “Beat Up Shoes,” frontman Pete Weiland recalls indulging in post-curfew cruises over a gradually crescendoing instrumental: “Mrs. Wurmbrand would be happy/That we were using our geometry,” he sings, contemplating the mechanics of leaping from upper-story windows. “Writing Utensils” begins as a tribute to classroom mundanities but soon raises larger existential concerns: “So focused on the parameters of the test/But forget to bring something to write with.” While AGBPOL’s past work addressed similar topics in what felt like the present tense, Pono offers a more bittersweet perspective: With Weiland now a married father, what do these guileless moments represent?

“[The pandemic] glorified a lot of memories, getting you to miss some of the things that you didn’t even like when you were there,” Weiland recently observed, and there’s something poignant about a band like AGBPOL—who, for most of their fanbase, serve as a soundtrack to reminiscence and yearning—releasing an album so focused on this behavior. Many of the anecdotes on Pono are best served with this kind of hindsight; after all, the freedom of adulthood you crave as a teen almost never feels as transformative as you expect, and once-aspirational antics like “waking up in yesterday’s clothes”—as Weiland sings on opener “Yesterday’s Clothes”—become less enchanting with age. Perhaps Pono should be taken less at face value, and more as a case for enjoying whatever season of life you’re experiencing in the moment.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
A Great Big Pile of Leaves - Pono Music Album Reviews A Great Big Pile of Leaves - Pono Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Monday, August 23, 2021 Rating: 5

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