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Pineapple Thief - Variations On A Dream CD (album) cover

VARIATIONS ON A DREAM

Pineapple Thief

 

Crossover Prog

3.18 | 97 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

James Lee
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Conspiracy theorists can make a connection between the shared initials of both PINEAPPLE THIEF and PORCUPINE TREE, and even form a connection between them and SMASHING PUMPKINS for "crimes involving fruits and vegetables". I can't think of an arcane way to connect them with RADIOHEAD, but if you like any or all of these bands, you may be ripe for "Variations on a Dream".

"We Subside"- yep, there's more than a little Billy Corgan in the vocals (how close-sounding is too close?), and plenty of heavy alt rock in the music. Nicely done orchestrations, though, and like many people I'm a sucker for a good string section."This Will Remain Unspoken" has a bit of Mellotron and sounds a little FLOYDian, but that's about as progressive as it gets. However, "Vapour Trails" gets plenty spacey, occupying the same floating realm as "Subterranean Homesick Alien" (RADIOHEAD) and the extended solos on "Drown" (PUMPKINS). "Run Me Through" is a tighter, harder song but with lush instrumentation adding emphasis- not unlike the PUMPKINS' "Machina". I could live without the extended outro though. "Bitter Pill" is an emotional wringer in the vein of "Disarm" or some of the more desperate songs from "Mellon Collie". "Resident Alien" dips a bit into Philip Glass-type arpeggios and industrial elements to craft an interesting melodic soundscape, and "Sooner or Later" distorts the drum machine for an ultra-modern sound...hey, kinda similar to what the PUMPKINS did on "Adore" and RADIOHEAD on "Kid A". "Part Zero" gets both spacy and heavy- and there's some nice acoustic guitars, too. "Keep Dreaming" has a percussive piano rhythm and some Mellotron work that puts it in "OK Computer" territory. "Remember Us" finishes off the album with a dramatic orchestral feel that sadly drops into an unremarkable rock buildup with some decidely uninspired guitarwork. Then a feedback-fueled ambient section arrives to keep things interesting, supplemented by a 4 on 4 electronic beat, repetitive arpeggios and sample-and-hold synth effects to increase the "Adore" factor. Just when everything has come unglued, the heavy rock surges back in to take us out with some lead guitar (a bit better this time around).

Overall, good lush but hard(ish) modern rock sound- if he can focus on different aspects of his voice, they could have a shot at real success. There's a lot of Pumpkinheads out there who would pick up on this (although some of them are so sensitive to sound-alikes that they're suspicious of RADIOHEAD, so that's not promising). The music certainly makes a different statement, with some impressive orchestral flavors and more 'classic' than 'alternative' rock moments. They share the same territory as PORCUPINE TREE- both bands have elements of progressive and alternative influence, but are primarily modern pop-rock bands with a bit of creativity in their arrangements. Not quite as individual, however; the vocals are a major problem even though the music is sometimes more effective and hard-hitting. The problem is, it's not really prog rock as I (or many others) define it, so even though I like PINEAPPLE THIEF enough to give them three or even four stars in the modern rock world, it's a two star rating in this more focused venue.

James Lee | 2/5 |

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