Krill – Steve Hears Pile in Malden and Bursts into Tears

written by: February 12, 2014
Cover-art-for-Steve-Hears-Pile-in-Malden-and-Bursts-into-Tears-by-Krill Release Date: February 18, 2014


Who knew an EP featuring both a life-threatening existential crisis and poop-based metaphors could be so good?

Experimental three-piece Krill set out to write a concept EP using the characters Steve and Mouth, both of whom are taken from Exploding In Sound labelmate Pile’s song “Steve’s Mouth.”

In the story, Steve wants to create something worthy of Pile’s praise, only to hear “Steve’s Mouth” and realize he and Mouth are characters in the song, hence the EP’s lengthy title, Steve Hears Pile in Malden and Bursts into Tears.

It’s an interesting concept that ties the tracks together well, but in the end, the group’s innovative musicianship surpasses the story and ultimately makes for a bizarre, brilliant label debut.

Blending sounds from the likes of Fugazi and Pavement, Krill is definitely a handful.

The mixes are chaotic and dynamic; the lyrics are introspective and spewed lawlessly over heavily-distorted instrumentals; and the songwriting is intense and creative, all of which makes Steve one hell of a release.

Starting with the discombobulating intro to the title track, the story is introduced when Steve and Mouth are jealously discussing the greatness of Pile’s latest album. Krill’s unique skill becomes apparent from the beginning of “Steve Hears…”—the music is controlled mayhem, and Jonah Furman’s screeching, noisy vocals only become more severe as the EP progresses.

“Sweet Death,” the second track, is where things really pick up. Krill shows off its artistic, emotional side with Furman’s vocals looming fervent and intense, backed up by groovy bass lines and catchy guitar. Here, elements of Pavement singer Stephen Malkmus’s style begin to surface and Krill’s songwriting skill is fully realized. This track shows off everything great about the band, including both the obvious mastery of its instruments and the relentless passion expressed by each member.

However, “Sweet Death” throws the story off kilter a bit. Steve becomes pessimistic and suicidal, but this shift is never explained. The rest of the EP plays on that hopeless feeling.

Even though “Sweet Death” is the high point of Steve Hears, the EP never hits a slump afterward.

“Turd” is the most poignant song, and despite the inane metaphor, it’s a valid comparison as Furman sings, “But I’ll never go down, ’cause that would just be way too easy/ I will never kill myself, but live forever.”

“Unbound Nameless Future” shows off the band’s more math-rock elements with its unpredictable timing and spastic drums. At this point, Steve feels lost and can’t see a future for himself, wishing he could live the simple life of a passing dog he sees on the street.

Krill portrays this disconcerting mental conflict through mass musical pandemonium as Furman aggressively begs a dog to take what’s left of a person he’s attacked.

After this outburst, closer “Fresh Pond” calms the EP down. Steve has seemingly given up, and drones on through life in a bored haze. Once again, musical dissonance gives the track an off-putting feeling, forcing listeners to empathize with the main character. Unnerving, jumbled, and repeated riffs close the last few minutes of the song, reflecting the monotony of Steve’s mind. It’s a fittingly uncomfortable, anticlimactic ending.

Steve Hears Pile in Malden and Bursts into Tears works as a concept EP, but it also stands alone as five great songs. It’s hard to ignore the Bostonian three-piece, which hasn’t changed since its previous release, Lucky Leaves.

The EP plays as an ultra-meta joke, but Krill’s real skill and emotion bring it far beyond the realm of the sarcastic.

Krill – Steve Hears Pile in Malden and Bursts into Tears tracklist:

  1. “Steve Hears Pile in Malden and Bursts into Tears”
  2. “Sweet Death”
  3. “Turd”
  4. “Unbounded Nameless Future”
  5. “Fresh Pond”