Pile of Love is a group formed from a couple of post-hardcore bands who decided to make their own music in a fun, no-pressure environment. The members include Ryan Graham from State Champs (guitar), Kevin Geyer from The Story So Far (bass), Morgan Foster from Mobin’s Child (vocals) joined by Chris Villeneuve and Nick Cogan from Drug Church (guitar, drums). The guys decided to get together every weekend to jam and start writing songs in their downtime. Not long after, they amassed enough material to get it all recorded in the studio, crafted in an environment with no stress. Music all for its own sake. And it shows in the result. Their self-titled debut is a mix of bright power pop songs with a touch of shoegaze and emo sprinkled across several songs.

Opening track “Those Things” is bright and lively with a touch of 90’s and aughts alt-rock nostalgia. Surfy at times with inventive melodies and hooks, a feature that is prominent in this album along with its carefree disposition. It’s a feeling that spreads through “Apart of You” with its  crunchy riffs and lyrics full of fond recollections. Following track “Like I’m Stoned” is heavy at parts and gradually builds at the gaze influence with it’s tastefully layered riffs that are balanced with pop-punk distortion.

At the latter part of the album the band becomes more creative with their sounds. “Gushing” is the most midwest-emo sounding song in the track, with its use of melancholic arpeggios that evokes that lonely afternoon feeling. On a different note, “Tranquilife” is where they get inventive with their riffs and fully embrace the shoegaze swirl. It’s a song about your life getting pulled right under your feet and tipping you off balance when you thought you were safe. A sentiment that perfectly matches the disorienting riffs and rhythms of the song. “Sacred Patience” and “Unowned” follow in a similar direction, each with their own levels of intensity yet equally enjoyable.

Pile of Love feels like a blessing. A serendipitous merging of members from various bands who all agreed to make music that they like. And the finished project says it all. It’s fun and bright power pop from a bunch of genius minds collaborating in harmony.