THE PINEAPPLE THIEF: YOUR WILDERNESS – album review
THE PINEAPPLE THIEF – YOUR WILDERNESS
CD/special edition 12” hardback book with CD, DVD-A and bonus CD/DL/vinyl
Released 12th August
Founded in 1999 and evolving into a band that main man Bruce Soord has called “greater than the sum of its parts”, The Pineapple Thief have never been afraid to challenge the vision that they are a prog band. One which has existed on the periphery awaiting the real breakthrough moment. Their 11th studio album sees them setting an ‘ever onward’ course.
Following the bite sized chunk trials of 2014’s ‘Magnolia’ with its more mainstream orientation, comes the album described as “a joy to make.” Not often you hear that making an album has been effortless. Perhaps inspired by the drumming contribution of the excellent Gavin Harrison, fresh from his experiences with King Crimson, or the clarinet contributions of Supertramp’s John Helliwell, or even the string quartet and four piece choir, they combine to cast a different hue on the The Pineapple Thief canvas. With Darran Charles from Godsticks adding some guitar, it’s an all star cast that alongside the core unit, have combined to create an album which adds to their already inventive catalogue of work.
Bruce Soord’s recent collaborations and production duties, particularly with the darker progressive and metal tendencies of Opeth and Katatonia, and in particular the latter’s acoustic adventures, may have also had an influence and played their part in his thinking. Fans may also be encouraged to hear he’s rediscovered his progressive roots which all adds up to what on paper has the potential to drive TPT into another dimension. Not only does it sound good, with Soord’s growing reputation as a 5.1 specialist doing wonders with the sonics, but it looks good too. The album concept gets played out in Carl Glover’s expansive artwork which compliments the musical and lyrical journey of a parent and child, unfolding slowly to chronicle a tale of love, fear, estrangement and reconciliation.
Soord has called ‘No Man’s Land’, the track assigned as the album teaser, “a tale of two halves. It’s short but progressive and 100% The Pineapple Thief” – an apt description which applies to much if not all of ‘Your Wilderness’. It’s preceded by ‘In Exile’ which not only sets the scene but, possibly with the help of the distinctive yet subtle Harrison drumming, moving TPT into the frame as the band most likely to take up the mantle from oner of Harrison’s old bands – another PT, Porcupine Tree. The void created by their regrettable absence in the wake of the Steven Wilson solo career juggernaut could well be on the way to being filled.
A wistful ‘That Shore’ takes a turn towards the delicate and fragile, echoed on ‘Fend For Yourself’ with the Helliwell clarinet floating over the low key choral backing. Intense without being overbearing , it all fits with the album template yet for those who like their progressive music to run a little longer there’s ten minutes of ‘The Final Thing On My Mind’ to dissect. Easy to say it’s the centrepiece because of the extended format but in all honesty it is an impressive composition. After building for four minutes, it could easily draw to a close to be another ‘short but progressive’ number, but it finds a natural conclusion in an extended arrangement which develops towards a second crescendo involving the sort of dynamic intensity which rarely pays a call, yet allows for a more significant impact when it does. The emphasis remains on the unpretentious and creation of atmosphere containing moments of controlled energy; a pattern which is at the core of an absorbing and introspective set which flows gently through the forty minute playing time.
The Pineapple Thief seem to be making an art form of the short but progressive style, stepping up to the plate for consideration as a band who have slowly developed into genuine contenders.
Watch the lyric video for ‘No Man’s Land’ here:
You can find the Pineapple Thief website here