A Great Big Pile of Leaves – You’re Always On My Mind

written by: July 9, 2013
Album-art-for-You're-Always-On-My-Mind-by-A-Great-Big-Pile-Of-Leaves Release Date: July 2, 2013


What is more enthralling, more uplifting, more fun than a great big pile of leaves? That’s right: nothing. Same goes for the amusing band by the same name that continually releases some of the most original, enrapturing music to ever grace the indie rock scene.

With a name as nostalgic and youthful as its music, A Great Big Pile of Leaves has managed to create what is by far the best summer album in a long time. It combines callow lyrics with pleasant melodies and instrumentals, making listeners sing along to songs about the joys of growing up. With You’re Always On My Mind, AGPOL has proven once again that it is one of the most consistent bands around.

AGBPOL has grown a lot since its first two EPs entitled The Fiery Works and The Fiery Works II and subsequent full-length Have You Seen My Prefrontal Cortex?, adding two new band members to the original duo and getting signed to Topshelf Records.

While changes have been made to the lineup and recording quality, the band’s buoyant sound is the same. In the same way that J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. has a characteristic sound that’s immediately identifiable, AGBPOL has an authentic style that is all its own.

The band’s most defining quality is undoubtedly Pete Weiland’s unique voice, enormous range, and the layering of his high and low vocals. All of this, alongside the borderline math-rock, signature guitar style and fantastic drums make it one of the best bands of our era.

Beginning the album with cheery a capella and snapping, “Snack Attack” jumps in with the musical equivalent of a punch to the chest. This fast-paced, bouncy song goes strong until mellowing out halfway through with a beautiful breakdown. From here, it only gets louder and edgier as the song comes to a thumping, chaotic halt.

A majority of the songs on You’re Always On My Mind have the same uplifting feel, while still sounding full and developed. The album is happy-go-lucky, yet mature, like a old man looking back on his childhood. Covering topics from slumber parties, to late night swimming, to the inevitable “Where did the summer go?/I’m not ready for it to be over,” felt by every school kid at the end of their truncated vacations.

But while most of the album has the same quick, melodic guitars, there are some tracks that are more laid-back. “Ambiversion” deals with a teenager trying to fit in and impress a girl. The chorus “I get so extroverted/Only when no one is lookin’,” portrays an emotion many people have felt growing up. The lyrics are reminiscent of the relateable, self-deprecating awkwardness of Motion City Soundtrack’s Justin Pierre, whose vocals are featured in “Pet Mouse.” “Ambiversion” is a slow groove with a cool dual guitar solo toward the end, making it a standout track on the release.

The closing track, “Pizzanomics,” is an epic, charming homage to childhood and pizza.

Weiland shows off his higher range as he glides from note to note during the bridge after the last chorus, and the music is one big, beautiful mess toward the end as Weiland sings, “Playing loud at dawn/But not when they’re mowing the lawn.” It’s a perfect ending to this incredible sophomore LP.

You’re Always On My Mind is as unique as they come, as is the rest of AGBPOL’s material. No matter how hard you try, it’s nearly impossible to compare this group to any other. With a growing discography of instant classics behind it, A Great Big Pile Of Leaves is securing itself a top spot in the indie-rock scene.

A Great Big Pile of Leaves – You’re Always On My Mind tracklist:

  1. “Snack Attack”
  2. “Flying Fish”
  3. “Pet Mouse (feat. Justin Pierre)”
  4. Slumber Party”
  5. “Back To School”
  6. “Egocentrism”
  7. “Ambiversion”
  8. “Fun In The Sun”
  9. “Locus Of Control”
  10. “Pizzanomics”