Laundry Pile

Laundry Pile

Released in 2021 and 2022 respectively, Arkells’ conjoined albums Blink Once and Blink Twice were twin monuments to the Hamilton, Ontario, band’s chart-seeking ambitions and wide genre-agnostic appeal, attracting an all-star guest list from across the alt-pop spectrum (Tegan and Sara, K.Flay, and The Lumineers’ Wesley Schultz included). But with Laundry Pile, they remind us of why fans fell for them in the first place back in the late 2000s. By reining in the stadium-sized bombast and stripping down the production, Laundry Pile homes in on Arkells’ core strengths: Max Kerman’s heart-on-sleeve songwriting and the band’s soulful, classic-rock-schooled camaraderie. With their organic acoustic/piano arrangements and vivid heartland ambience, songs like “Skin” and the title track allow Kerman to reconnect with his inner Springsteen as he keys in on the seemingly mundane details that lend his romantic vignettes a deeper sense of lived-in relatability (“We don’t need some fancy hotel/You’re home from the bar/Do you need a friend?/Laundry pile’s sitting at the end of the bed”). But while the album's sepia-toned palette contrasts sharply with its predecessors’ colorful pop, the rapturous slow-dance ballad “Your Name” and the string- and brass-laden centerpiece “Beginner’s Mind” simply take the slow ’n’ steady path up the mountain before going over the top in patented Arkells fashion.

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