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Pineapple Thief - Abducting The Unicorn CD (album) cover


Pineapple Thief

Crossover Prog

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4 stars PINEAPPLE THIEF are a side-project by Bruce Soord, guitarist of VULGAR UNICORN. Their debut album is a mix between ambient, new wave, modern progressive rock, psychedelic rock and straightforward 90's guitar rock. Although the music is quite hard to describe there's reminiscences to bands such as The CURE, NIRVANA, PINK FLOYD, PORCUPINE TREE, RADIOHEAD, The SMASHING PUMPKINS, U2 and The URBANE. This album has strong melodies, catchy choruses and rough-edged guitars. Although this is a side-project I hope that there will be many more albums in the future. Highly recommended!

Report this review (#11097)
Posted Thursday, March 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Just like I said in my review for "Variations on a Dream" Pineapple Thief is a band wich seems to split the progheads into two parts. On the one hand you can say that Pineapple Thief makes interesting and innovative prog but on the other hand you can say that they have similarities to the "Smashing Punpkins" and sound like regular alternative rock. Both opinions have their eligibility because in some way both of them are true.

Just like on "Variations on a Dream" you will find two different types of songs on "Abducting the unicorn". There are songs like "Private Paradise", "Everyone must Perish" and the almost 19 minute long epic "Parted forever" wich can be described as innovative prog with a touch of "Porcupine Tree", but when listening to songs like "Judge the Girl", "Drain" or "What ever you do - Do nothing" you get the impression that these songs are nothing special, even no prog at all. These songs sound like alternative rock songs written and sung by the "Smashing Pumpkins". But don't get me wrong, even these songs are far from being bad, the only thing is, that they don't seem to be prog but alternative rock. The first songs I mentioned are innovative prog and I even like to think that this is the way "Porcupine Tree" would sound like if Steven Wilson never discovered metal riffs. A melotron is featured on some of the songs wich is an enrichment for the sound. The good thing about "Pineapple Thief" are the guitar solos, not very technical or difficult to play, but they sound really beautiful. The highlight of this album for sure is the melancolic "Parted forever" wich is almost 19 minutes long, a terrific song. The mystirious bonus track seems to be a track without a title and the band was consequently by not mentioning the song. I often saw it called "Untitled".

So "Pineapple Thief" is hard to recommend because of the differences in their style. Some people like them, some do not. Some call it prog, others don't think so. I think that you should listen to some songs before you buy it. Don't buy it without informing you. I think that some of the songs show the future of prog, how it could sound like in a few years when all the great old pioneers are too old and stop to make new music. So wich album is the better one? I don't know but I would say that you should start with "Variations on a Dream" if you want to have an album of this band.

Report this review (#11098)
Posted Tuesday, July 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Having been a fan of Vulgar Unicorn's work for some time, I eagerly awaited the release of 'Abducting the Unicorn', the first album from Bruce Soord's new spinoff band Pineapple Thief. On the whole, I was not disappointed, yet as other reviewers have noted this is a difficult album to categorise. 'Private Paradise' kicks us off with a gentle acoustic guitar intro soon joined by electric guitar effects and a Billy Corgan soundalike vocal. The track has an extempore feel, almost like a jam session, and a hint of Porcupine Tree is definitely in the air.

The second track 'Drain' is probably the one you will remember when the album is finished. The infectious guitar riff of the chorus plays through my mind all night after I've been listening to it! The third track continues the musical style, but 'No One Leaves This Earth' takes us into slightly different territory. The sound is quite different - a stacatto keyboard arpeggio introduction, joined by a drum beat and broad synth chords. The spoken vocals and Floydian guitar solos remind us where we are now. This is definitely Porcupine Tree of the Voyage 34 era - almost psychadelic.

Track 5 returns us to the acoustic guitar-led sound from the beginning of the album. Track six 'Everyone Must Perish' is an interesting little instrumental in 5/4 time, shared between keyboards and guitar, before the rockier electric guitar driven 'Judge The Girl'. 'Parted Forever' is by far the longest track on the album - a lovely melancholic piece with several delightful solos - probably worth the purchase price of the album alone! We close with a 'hidden' track - another acoustic guitar song.

If I have a criticism of this album it would be that it lacks really strong melodies. I have played it dozens of times over the years, but the chorus of Drain is often the only bit that sticks in the mind. Some of the music almost has a soundtrack feel to it - but much the same could be said of Soord's earlier work. This is not for those who like their prog heavy or complicated, but as the debut of a new project it is a solid start and worth a listen if you like early Porcupine Tree/Pink Floyd.

Report this review (#113111)
Posted Thursday, February 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars Bruce Soord the former vocalist and lead guitar player for VULGAR UNICORN starts up this new band called PINEAPPLE THIEF. And maybe not so surprisingly he names the first record "Abducting The Unicorn", it is released in 1999. I am a real fan of the music of PINEAPPLE THIEF as it combines the nineties Alternative Rock sound of SMASHING PUMPKINS with a PORCUPINE TREE / RADIOHEAD style of music.

The one thing I noticed right away was how much Bruce sings like Billy from SMASHING PUMPKINS. He likes to strum the guitar a lot as on this first song "Private Paradise", often it is overlapped with guitar solos. Some great bass work on this one, as well as some electronic programming. Check out the guitar solo 10 minutes in. "Drain" opens with some cool percussion and some clanging guitar melodies.The guitar sound is upfront which is nice, and later there are some amazing atmospheric guitar melodies. The drums are relentless in this one. "What Ever You Do-Do Nothing" has some more good bass lines throughout. The vocal arrangements are interesting. This one is very psychedelic sounding.

"No One Leaves This Earth" is PORCUPINE TREE sounding, quite spacey with some great guitar. "Punish Yourself" has some industrial sounding percussion that comes and goes. Other than that it is quite relaxing. "Everyone Must Perish" has this vocal melody in the background as the song builds by adding sounds as it goes. Starting with floating keys, spacey synths, percussion and then guitar. Then it starts to do the oposite and dismantles. "Judge the Girl" is a catchy, uptempo song. "Parted Forever" is over 18 minutes long. The first 2 and a half minutes are comprised of gentle guitar and spacey sounds that come and go along with soft vocals.This song has some heaviness with scorching guitar solos.There are also prolonged spacey passages as the drums beat.This song and the opener are my two favourite tunes on this record.

I can see why this band doesn't get the highet ratings, but I think they are a fantastic band and I highly recommend them.

Report this review (#120704)
Posted Friday, May 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Crossover Prog Team
3 stars Pineapple Thief are a side project of Bruce Soord, guitarist with Vulgar Unicorn (hence the witty title). Apart from the fact that there are far too many programmed drums, this is a very interesting album. Vulgar Unicorn are seen by some as being one of the most 'progressive' bands around, but while the label wants to link these guys to Porcupine Tree it has to be said that Pineapple Thief are far removed from the prog scene.

Of course, no one could consider them a chart singles band when they place a track at the end that is 25 minutes long ("Parted Forever"), but at times, these guys come across as a complex Travis. There are hints of VU, but that is to be expected, but it is only by knowing the band's history that they are looked for. Overall, this is a bright album which while although contemplative at times is both immediate and deep enough to warrant further listening. Worth investigating.

Feedback #59, July 2000

Report this review (#146036)
Posted Friday, October 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Abducting the Unicorn is the debut album from Pineapple Thief. Pineapple Thief is often accused of being Radiohead clones but I donīt think thatīs fair even though Radiohead is clearly the biggest influence on Abducting the Unicorn. Abducting the Unicorn was released in 1999 and Pineapple Thief have been very active ever since as they have released lots of albums.

The music is pretty basic british rock but with some psychadelic middle sections which is what qualifies this album as being progressive rock. Mix Thom Yorke ( Radiohead) and Billy Corgan ( Smashing Pumpkins) and you got the voice of Bruce Soord. The Radiohead influence is the most obvious influence in the music but there are also hints of Smashing Pumpkins and Porcupine Tree. No One Leaves Earth and Everyone Must Perish goes beyond the vers/ chorus psychadelic middle section formula which is the dominant form on the album. Nick Lang uses lots of keyboards and programming in those two songs which makes for great variation on Abductiong the Unicorn. Parted Forever needs to be mentioned as well as it is 18:27 minutes long. Itīs a jamming atmospheric track which reminds me about Porcupine Tree.

The production is pretty good but would get better on subsequent releases.

The musicianship is good but Iīm having a bit of a trouble with Bruce Soordīs voice at times. He sounds very strained and quite frankly a bit too much like his influences. Had the vocals been more varied I would have rated this album higher.

All in all Abducting the Unicorn is an enjoyable and good rock album with progressive/ psychadelic tendencies and worth the 3 stars.

Report this review (#176331)
Posted Tuesday, July 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars It is quite strange that this band made its entry into the archives. It is a straight forward pop-rock band whose music is definitely heading the fine territories (''Private Paradise'') but whose prog textures is close to none IMHHO.

It doesn't prevent the band to be interesting although very much derivative of the great ''Echo & The Bunnymen'' of which I am found of (but you might know this already).

Most of the songs are quite on the long side for this type of music (straight rock). Still, the melodies are pleasant and none of the tracks featured here should be considered as weak. On the contrary, most (if not all) of the tracks are very much pleasant and deserve a detour even if ''No One Leaves This Earth'' sounds a bit chaotic and loose.

I quite like this melancholic rock music: pleasant and not too dramatic. Pieces like '' Punish Yourself'' are absolutely not a punishment at all. Fine rock music for sure. And even if almost nineteen minutes is quite a long way down, the haunting epic ''Parted Forever'' is pretty much digestible (but not great either). For sure that they have listened to ''Radiohead''.

This album is probably too long to capture the interest from start to finish. As such, I will rate it with three stars. A good album after all.

Report this review (#216012)
Posted Friday, May 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Stealing fruit? Hmmmm, major crime, iznit? Well this Vulgar Unicorn offshoot (a stunning yet unrecognized prog pioneer) certainly goes beyond the customary on this, their debut offering. Funny about the U2 comparisons (though well merited), the Irish pop/punk band never mastered the 10 minute + tracks, so here we have 2 epics that clock in at 11.48 and 18.27! The first one starts off the album, a bold and intense ride , properly fueled by some pulsating Mark Harris' bass that booms along brilliantly, lilting drums and directed by some jaded vocals obviously straight out of the Radiohead/the Cure/Smashing Pumpkins (fruit vs vegetables!) scenario. Multi-instrumentalist Nick Lang does a superb job on assorted keys and drums, keeping atmospheres vivid and punchy. The guitar phrasings are shimmering, trembling, effect-laden and mostly rhythmic (Bruce Soord is not a classic lead solo guitarist by any stretch, preferring to choose his spots) which gives this such originality, like a "Private Paradise"! The layered guitar work remains the prime focus here, Soord very obviously influenced by the legendary Phil Manzanera (willfully or not) and it reflects in his playing and in the multiple textures used.

As expressed by a bevy of seasoned reviewers, there are two facets to Pineapple Thief, a proggy epic style that is wholly exhilarating and a poppier/alternative style that is perhaps less sonically enthralling but full of edge (U2 pun!) and bravado by infusing some psychedelic flavorings. Frankly, both tendencies are most interesting in their absolute originality. Between the 2 massive epics there are 6 outright songs like that follow this brighter, sweeter formula, each tune different, adorned with multi-hued little glares of beaming light and acute interest in tweaking the listener's ear. Slick and adventurous like the electro-synth intro of "No One Leaves this Earth", which nods towards parent band Vulgar Unicorn, loaded up with ingenious effects , whispering words and anomalous sounds. When the twangy lead guitar kicks in, the Manzanera effect becomes noticeable, screwing the notes tighter and tighter into a 6 string vise! "Punish Yourself" is a masochist anthem that has some metal garbage can beats that are quite appealing, this is nevertheless very dark and brooding, not something I can really get off on! The structurally quixotic "Everyone Must Perish" selects glittering synths to create the initial melody (and quite compellingly), a hypnotic assemblage of effects that swerve, float and occasionally vanish only to reappear suddenly, again very far from your readily available commercial pop but still weird. Even on a more up-tempo ditty like "Judge the Girl" , both the guitar and the bass remain simply stunning even though I care little for the wonky vocal. This where the truth finally arrives, clear and concise: I love the music, the style and the originality but these whining vocal stylistics are not my preference (which explains why I have no Radiohead and Pumpkin records in my huge collection). My loss I guess! The mesmerizing "Parted Forever" is definitely the highlight reel track here, a glittering prize (as the Simple Minds would put it) of ozonated sound and spectral effects where the synths and e-guitar are simply fabulous. Because of the wide berth given to explore various sonic realms, Soord really gets to stretch out comfortably in a variety of directions, using his axe as a tonal directory of exalted soloing and having loads of fun in the process, nothing ever feeling forced or contrived. One of my favorite tracks ever!

In my opinion, this aspect of Pineapple Thief is really the most alluring reason why a progfan should investigate further. I must say that "Variations" was a strange disappointment to me, still cannot figure out why I just cannot click with it, outside of the final 16 minute "Remember Us" !

This has 4 horned kidnappers in my book.

Report this review (#917771)
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 | Review Permalink

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