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The Pineapple Thief - All The Wars CD (album) cover


The Pineapple Thief

Crossover Prog

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kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars It has been a long time Vulgar Unicorn's guitarist Bruce Soord decided to stretch his wings and create another vehicle for his music, but I hadn't realised that it was 1999 when 'Abducting The Unicorn' came out; it all seems so very long ago now. Over the years Bruce has kept developing the sound of the band, and in many ways is still very 'progressive', but to be honest that label may not be used much by many reviewers these days. To me it is truly progressive in that the band has kept changing and are bringing in loads of influences, most notably lots of Muse with some Porcupine Tree and Radiohead, and aren't afraid to mix up the instrumentation. But while I think that "Believe A World" is a great example of progressive music, i.e. music that is trying to break down barriers and cross genres (some great strings, simple staccato piano chords, combined with a pop mentality and a great distorted guitar break) there will be many that do not and instead will call this alternative rock.

Yes, that is indeed one way of looking at it, but frankly who cares about labels anyway? It is just a way of describing music so that someone reading a comment might get an idea of what the music is about and then may make a decision based on that. In this case it is definitely a case of if you enjoy the bands mentioned above then this is an extremely polished rock album that you will gain a great deal from and you ought to investigate further.

Report this review (#835643)
Posted Tuesday, October 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Pineapple Thief is something your non-proggy friends could absorb whilst playing Cards Against Humanity and not feel like a deer caught in headlights. There are enough pop hooks and secular references to keep the music community at large interested -- yet it could also be the catalyst for the masses to investigate more crossover prog titles. Once again, you'll have the confidence to breech your party with sonic flagellations without fear of them throwing their Hot Pockets at you in musical disgust. It's even plausible that you may make new friends when you play Airbag, Amplifier or Von Hertzen Brothers immediately following.

Pineapple Thief's sound is not a shot served straight. It's as if a cosmic bartender muddled together the music of Travis, Porcupine Tree and Radiohead, then garnished with a twist of Billy Corgan. Seriously? listen to "Build A World." Is that Billy Corgan singing under a pseudonym? ?Is it prog? It'll be up to the listener to decide. It's definitely modern -- well produced and recorded, gladly taking part in the overly compressed, sonic loudness wars. The strings and the vocal phrasing is very Travis inspired music, drawing vocal comparisons to Fran Healy at certain intervals. There are even parallels in the lyrical content. It's a solid 4 star album for mainstream music, one star less for attempting the progressive genre.

My turn to deal. The card: Instead of coal, Santa now gives the bad children ________.

Report this review (#1006036)
Posted Saturday, July 27, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Pineapple Thief has managed to maintain an excellent level of production and composition in their music since VARIATIONS ON A DREAM. All The Wars is the last album they have worked on and it is really excellent in quality and, as I said above, composition. The musical arrangements are outstanding, the use of orchestration in songs like "All the Wars" or the use of the Prague choir in "Reaching Out". This album along with the bonus CD are really amazing and they should be considered a must for every fan of progressive music or fan of music. I have shown this album to many experts in other types of music and they acknowledge the good level The Pineapple Thief has. Even though, Bruce Soord is compared to Corgan, I would say, they are a way different one from the other! Lovely album!
Report this review (#1022388)
Posted Friday, August 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars This is the first PINEAPPLE THIEF album that left me unimpressed after my first listen, and I do own all of their studio albums save for "10 Stories Down"(but I do have "12 Stories Down") and yes i've been a big fan for a long time now. In fact the opening track is one I still can't get into. Maybe it's because they've taken a turn into more of a MUSE territory. For some reason i've always loved that sameness they've always had about their music with the lack of dynamics. Still, I can see this album being popular with music fans in general.

"Burning Pieces" for whatever reason bugs me when it kicks into that heavy sound. Now i'm sure it would be cool hearing this in concert but I still get annoyed with it. "Warm Seas" is better as once again we get those contrasts of heavy and mellow but it just works better here for me. Great tune. "Last Man Standing" sounds so good early on reminding me of PT with the atmosphere and lyrics. It kicks in before 2 minutes as contrasts continue. Classic PINEAPPLE THIEF right here and a top three track. "All The Wars" is a mellow tune with strummed guitar and melancholic vocals. Good tune. "Build A Word" opens with orchestration and piano before this catchy beat kicks in with vocals. I did tire of it quickly though.

"Give It Back" is quite powerful as it kicks in hard before a minute. It settles some when the vocals arrive. A good rockin' tune. "Someone Pull Me Out" is laid back with reserved vocals. Sad is the word. It gets fuller with orchestration on the beautiful chorus. A top three tune for me and it reminds me of their older sound other than the orchestration. "One More Step Away" is mellow with drums, picked guitar and vocals. I like this one. "Reaching Out" is my favourite. Great intro with guitar as it builds. This is a ride as it goes on for almost 10 minutes. Vocals before a minute then orchestration as we get that classic mood and emotion from Bruce and the boys. I like the bass when it settles back as the vocals stop. Great section. Just a killer track !

I'm not big on orchestration which is fairly prominant on this album yet it is tastefully done. But it's more the bombastc parts that for some reason don't work for me. Lots to like here but not enough to offer up that fourth star. Not a fan of the cover art either. My favourites from this band coninue to be "Someone Here Is Missing" and "Little Man".

Report this review (#1176125)
Posted Saturday, May 17, 2014 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars As The Pineapple Thief continue to put out albums, I continue to wonder about whether they are really progressing or not. You'll have a pretty good album, then you'll have one that seems a little mediocre, like this one. For the most part, they have made the choice to make songs that aren't really that progressive, but more mainstream sounding on this album, that they sound more like a really good alternative rock band more than a progressive band. Yes, they still take musical cues from Porcupine Tree, Muse, and so on, but, while this one is guitar heavy, it sounds more like progressive-lite, or a commercial sounding Steven Wilson record. The band can't be compared to other current hard prog-rock bands like Dredg, The Dear Hunter or Tool because the main thing that seems to be missing, even on their better albums, is emotion.

So, on "All The Wars", you get mostly guitar heavy hooks that always sound impressive from the outset, like "Build a World", but as soon as the vocals start, things seem to lose power and aim, probably because of the singer trying to sound more MOR and radio friendly. That is the case throughout this album. It's tough to find highlights on this album, even though it is pleasant enough to listen to, things just don't develop enough. Sure the strings and orchestra are nice too, again as on the aforementioned "Build a World", they build towards the end, making you think you might get a nice climax, but there is no real payoff. When you get to some of the longer tracks, like "Give It Back", at about 7 minutes, you would expect maybe better development. Again, you start with a nice guitar hook to start out, but the vocals start and the song immediately loses steam. Some would argue that this sounds like Radiohead, and while some of their songs do lose some power when the vocals start, at least they are a lot more inventive and experimental with a lot more variety. "Give it Back" doesn't really develop much either, but actually tries to build on a very repetitive lyric and rhythm pattern, which doesn't really accomplish what it sets out to do, so a longer track doesn't end up really changing much. There are guitar breaks, but they are too reminiscent of Porcupine Tree, and they are shorter. Porcupine Tree did a much better job of making hard progressive music than this. On this album, Pineapple Thief try to hard to sound like their contemporaries and also try to make things more accessible, but end up making things just sound watered down and repetitive.

There are times when they try doing some tricky rhythms, which tend to lend a little more variety in the last part of the album, but the emotion is still lacking. The orchestration does nothing more than support the band, making it pretty much unnecessary. This is apparent in both "Someone Pull Me Out" and "One More Step Away". The album continues to rely on repetitiveness and a lack of inventiveness, and what you get overall, at least on this album, is not enough progressiveness, and too much more like making alternative rock that is mildly interesting, but nothing really special. 3 stars.

Report this review (#1942733)
Posted Monday, July 2, 2018 | Review Permalink
5 stars Album titled "All The Wars" (2012) by The Pineapple Thief, came out not so unambiguous. This is probably because the band was busy touring and the musicians didn't have enough time to write more stuff. The disadvantage of the album, in my opinion, is the excessive "diversity" of the compositions. And the ballad component, alas, is not the strongest side of the Thief. But when it comes to powerful tracks, the band has refined its sound again and added depth to the once raw and deliberately primitivistic sound. The keyboards also became brighter (they were always there, they just seemed to have grown from this album). And of course the vocals of Bruce Soord from this album blossomed with bright colors and still does not fade. He can rightfully be called the new Robert Plant from the neo-progressive scene, with a guitar skill that rivals David Gilmour, only unlike Dave, who has a more raw, grungy approach. In any case, these qualities in one person are a real gift for connoisseurs. There are two tracks to focus on. One such subtle masterpiece is "Someone Pull Me Out", with its airy, flying harmonies and paranoid intro. And of course "Reaching Out" is a 10 minute masterpiece, which is perhaps the best composition of the group. A magnificent thin and soulful voice, coupled with symphonic arrangements, turning into a harsh meditative psychedelic and ending with a powerful hysterical guitar explosion. All of the above is superbly combined and perfectly executed, because in any approach the group is much more competent than its "older brothers". And, as always, a beautiful album cover.
Report this review (#2479337)
Posted Monday, November 23, 2020 | Review Permalink

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