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The Pineapple Thief - Magnolia CD (album) cover


The Pineapple Thief

Crossover Prog

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3 stars I won't lie. The Pineapple Thief aren't a band I have been really keeping an eye on. The only album I actually have of theirs is "Tightly Unwound"...and I thought it was alright. But, last year Bruce Soord (lead singer of the the band) collaborated with Katatonia vocalist Jonas Renkse to make "Wisdom Of Crowds," and impressive album packed with tunes, especially the amazing and beautifully arranged "Frozen North." Did Soord get lucky with "Wisdom Of Crowds"? Well...maybe. To be honest I think Soord knows the bands sound and doesn't want to straw too far away from it, allowing Wisdom Of Crowds to be his experimental side project.

Musically the band are very much stuck in the art rock stages of the 90s and always have been for their career. In many ways the band are pretty much a rip off of 90's band Mansun. But, if I was to describe the band, the perfect description would be the middle ground between Death Cab For Cutie & Porcupine Tree. One change that the band have done for this album is the loss of longer compositions (with the longest composition being just over 5 minutes). I am sad to see the loss of an epic on this album, because I think it's on longer compositions where this band really shine and show off their ability, but this album does show a slight focus on songwriting, so really there's good and bad moments throughout.

Bruce Soord is a pretty great vocalist and songwriter and the band do play the material with a good sense of musical knowledge. One of the problems I have with the band is that their material while impressively put together can lack a lot of cohesion. I really don't think any songs on this album will really stick with me. Not that the songs are bad or anything, just my own personal tastes maybe. I do really like the album cover though.

Album opener "Simple As That" is a pretty great way to start off. With a lot of interesting changes throughout and some pretty cool riffs, the song really opens up the album well introducing the bands sound.

One of my personal favorite tracks on the album would have to be "Breathe." One of the more rockier songs on the album, the song is really pushed forward with a pretty great chorus.

"Sense Of Fear" starts off becoming almost like an epic track for the band with a pretty tense intro. The song builds up and kind of ends which is a bit of a shame because this could have been a rather interesting track.

An interesting track on the album would be "A Loneliness." Starting off very slow and quiet the song then soon explodes with some interesting crescendos. A beautiful vocal performance from Bruce as well.

Album closer "Bond" is a pretty great ender to the album. Having some brilliant climatic moments and having a great trumpet solo, the song ends the album off on a good light.

Overall, this album is pretty good. I won't lie, The Pineapple Thief aren't 100% my thing but I did enjoy this album. It is business as usual for the band, but Soord is a good songwriter and there are some nice moments on it. I have heard a lot of bands who sound like this, but when your songs are pretty good, I won't throw too much metaphorical faeces on you.


Genres: Progressive Rock, New Prog, Art Rock, Alternative Rock, Indie Rock

Country of origin: England

Year of release: 2014

Report this review (#1283387)
Posted Wednesday, September 24, 2014 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars UK band THE PINEAPPLE THIEF was formed back in 1999 by composer and musician Bruce Soord. Initially a self-described bedroom project, that have developed into a well defined and rather popular band as the years have gone by. "Magnolia" is their tenth studio production, and was released through UK label Kscope in the late fall of 2014.

Whenever you're dealing with a Kscope production, you know that no matter what kind of music the album contains the mix, production and overall sound quality will be excellent. This latest production by The Pineapple Thief is no exception there, those fond of well produced material in general will get their fix solved quite nicely here. The sound comes across as fairly analogue, in that it doesn't come across as compressed in the manner in which many contemporary productions may be, and the soundscapes comes across as warm sounding and organic to my ears.

As far as the music itself, the lead vocals of Soord makes certain comparisons undeniable for me. He's got a voice that in timbre and approach does have some clear similarities to Radiohead's Thom Yorke, up to and including a certain sad, mournful touch, and this aspect is dominant enough to give this entire album a slight late 90's Radiohead sheen. I might add that Soord has an excellent vocal control, and he rarely if ever have that desperate quality to his delivery that Yorke has. Yorke as a vocalist may come across as a guy that appears to be in the middle of a nervous breakdown, while Soord always sounds like he is in full control of events. So while there are similarities, especially in the songs or sequences that pairs off Soord's voice with a careful, fragile instrumental backdrop, they remain similarities of a more distant kind. Related you might say, rather than identical.

Whenever The Pineapple Thief hits a more hard edged stride, which is fairly often, the band comes across as rather more similar to the likes of Porcupine Tree. With pumping bass, driving rhythms and dark, compact guitar riffs with or without noticeable keyboard supplements, The Pineapple Thief is a band that could give Porcupine Tree a good run for the money indeed. Again it is a case of similar features and a similar approach in my opinion, related but far from identical.

Rather than exploring these two facets separately The Pineapple Thief tends to blend these two somewhat different sounding traits into a complete whole. Sometimes by pairing off these tendencies in calmer and harder edged sequences following each other, at other times by using certain aspects from both directions in a seamless whole. There are songs here that sounds more like one or the other, but the general and overall feel I get is a band that assembles aspects from both of these indie rock flavored aspects of progressive rock into a whole, and manage to do so in a manner that sounds natural and logical too I might add. Which indicates that The Pineapple Thief, rather than being a band that strives to incorporate influences from the aforementioned bands, is a band that share influences with both Radiohead and Porcupine Tree. And that it is due to this that they share certain similarities with both of these bands as far as sound and expression is concerned.

It all ads up to an enjoyable production of indie flavored progressive rock. The album as a whole comes across as on that should have a strong mainstream potential, but also a creation with enough ear candy and sophisticated features to be of interest to fans of progressive rock, and then in particular those fond of bands like Radiohead, Porcupine Tree as well as those with a general fascination for artists that approach progressive rock from an indie rock perspective.

Report this review (#1326543)
Posted Saturday, December 20, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars Residing in England, The Pineapple Thief consists of Bruce Soord on vocals/guitar, Jon Sykes on bass guitar, Steve Kitch on keyboards, and Dan Osborne on the drums. Having been around for over 15 years, listener can have their pick of the litter when it comes to selecting great music. I feel their most recent 'Magnolia' shows the band at its finest, but displays a band transitioning away from their progressive influences.

Leaning more towards a straightforward rock sound than any of their prior works, 'Magnolia' serves as the perfect introductory record to newcomers. Lasting only 46 minutes (an unusually short album by prog's standards), the overall downbeat nature of this album restrains the band, and prevents them from being too showy. No song is over six minutes long, leaving off any chance for a potential epic like 'Light Up Your Eyes' or 'P.V.S.' The album also lacks experimentation found in previous albums, focusing more on mainstream songwriting. Sure, the album starts off with a bang, featuring the powerful choruses of 'Simple As That' and 'Alone At Sea.' From this point, the album takes a turn with four gentle songs in a row, including the album's title track. It's this stretch that reminds me the most of Porcupine Tree from the 90's. The slide guitar, the effect- driven clean guitar, the overall simpler song structure; it's very relaxing, but also serves as the lone fault on this record, which I'll mention later. It isn't until 'The One You Left To Die' plays that the listener is sucked back into the heaviness of the album.

Being my personal favorite song off the album, 'The One You Left To Die' contains that clich' British sound that is apparent in records ranging from present day bands like Muse and Coldplay to as far back as the Beatles. The bass line that takes center stage from the beginning, the quick notes struck by symphonic instruments, and the emotional vocals all set up the upbeat chorus. Even the following song 'Breathe' acts as a sister-song, containing much of the same themes and tones as the prior. The passionate vocals in these two songs are the driving force of this album, especially the chorus in 'The One You Left To Die':

'The one you loved returning, the one you left to die / You'll never stop, you're searching for/ The one you know has died.'

'Magnolia,' although a beautiful album, is far softer and simpler than typical progressive rock albums. In fact, if you aren't paying enough attention, it'll pass by unnoticed. I'm not sure if it's because of the track order, or simply the presence of too many softer songs, but the album is relatively quiet and choppy. One could even argue that many of the songs follow the same formula, which I wouldn't necessarily disagree with. Besides 'The One You Left To Die,' I couldn't recall any other memorable song off the album. With all those concerns, this album definitely needs to be listened to multiple times to achieve the desired effect. Each song does have it's own unique flavor, but is meant to be listened to as a whole instead of its individual parts. With its modest approach, The Pineapple Thief have written an effective record that can please old fans and discover new audiences.

A solid effort, "Magnolia" is easily a three star album.

Taken from Crash And Ride Music

Report this review (#1456697)
Posted Wednesday, August 26, 2015 | Review Permalink
The Crow
3 stars Magnolia was the first album from The Pineapple Thief that I heard!

And I'm still having troubles with it. It's a diverse in style, sometimes talented, sometimes mediocre record with no really prog structures and with an undefined style which makes the album rather inconsequential in my opinion.

The musicians make a good job, specially Bruce Soord on guitars, but there are no really big surprises. Some tracks are reminiscent to Porcupine Tree, others to Radiohead, and other just to British pop/rock. Fine, but not really special.

Best Tracks: Alone at Sea (interesting guitars), The One You Left to Die (a song which introduces the style of their last two and superior albums)

Conclusion: being not really prog, Magnolia is a fine produced and good played album with no stylistic and compositive surprises.

But despite this lack of true personality, it deserves some attention and you will not regret the time that you'll dedicate it.

My rating: ***

Report this review (#2280604)
Posted Tuesday, November 12, 2019 | Review Permalink

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