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The Pineapple Thief

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The Pineapple Thief Abducting the Unicorn [Aka: Abducted at Birth] album cover
3.42 | 103 ratings | 14 reviews | 13% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Private Paradise (11:47)
2. Drain (6:35)
3. Whatever You Do - Do Nothing (6:18)
4. No One Leaves This Earth (5:56)
5. Punish Yourself (4:26)
6. Everyone Must Perish (4:36)
7. Judge the Girl (6:12)
8. Parted Forever (18:27)
9. untitled (4:27)

Total Time 68:44

Line-up / Musicians

- Bruce Soord / guitars, vocals, producer

- Nick Lang / keyboards, drums, programming
- Mark Harris / bass

Releases information

Artwork: PT and Marchant

CD Cyclops ‎- CYCL 079 (1999, UK)
CD Kscope ‎- KSCOPE293 (2017, Europe) Remastered by Steve Kitch, Remixed by Bruce Soord, retitled "Abducted At Birth" with new cover

2xLP Kscope ‎- KSCOPE978 (2018, Europe) Remastered by Steve Kitch, Remixed by Bruce Soord, retitled "Abducted At Birth" with new cover

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy THE PINEAPPLE THIEF Abducting the Unicorn [Aka: Abducted at Birth] Music

THE PINEAPPLE THIEF Abducting the Unicorn [Aka: Abducted at Birth] ratings distribution

(103 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(13%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (41%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

THE PINEAPPLE THIEF Abducting the Unicorn [Aka: Abducted at Birth] reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Greger
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!

Review by diddy
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.

Review by 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.

Review by kev rowland
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

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by ZowieZiggy
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.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Bruce Soord, the guitarist from the prog band Vulgar Unicorn, started The Pineapple Thief as a side project. On this, the debut album, he is the main instrumentalist and lead singer. The other 2 players seem to be considered session players, though they would be considered regulars by the next album. It seems this band was created to be a little more alternative than progressive, but some of the progressive elements did make it over, thought somewhat slight on this first album. Overall, it's not a bad album. It seems to be well produced and mixed nicely. It is something to be proud of, but I wouldn't consider it a major progressive release. It is pleasant to listen to and has some very interesting harmonies and some inventive passages. I can't say that anything really stands out though, at least after the first few listens. The processed drums don't help out on this album either, it makes the album have a lackluster feel, and that could be the biggest drawback about this album, giving it a feeling of sameness overall, when in actuality, there is quite a bit of change throughout. Once you become more familiar with the songs, you will notice some things do stand out though.

The first track, Private Paradise, on the surface, looks like it could be progressive simply because of the 11 minute time span. However, I do find it lacking in substance. Nothing is really developed much here. It is a mid-tempo song that really does nothing interesting. Yes it is nice to listen to, but there definitely isn't 11 minutes worth of development here and can be a little tiring to listen to for that long. "Drain" however, is a much better song, with more power and better material throughout. This probably would have been a better opener. You also start to notice that Bruce sounds a lot like Billy Corgan from "Smashing Pumpkins" which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but Bruce tends to not have as much passion in his singing, at least on this album. There is a nice guitar break on this second track however, and it stays more interesting. This feeling continues onto the next track "Whatever You Do - Do Nothing", which has some very interesting harmonies and a few nice hooks. The next two tracks keep things interesting enough, with some nice sounds being coaxed out of Bruce's guitar and some great experimentation with processed sounds, but the passion seems to lack a little bit. By the time you get to "Everyone Must Perish", you might start to feel bored as the songs almost seem to melt together in a bit of sameness and a little lack of passion, but when "Judge the Girl" starts, you do start to feel a bit of an upswing in the feel of the music, and things continue to build through this piece where it ends in a heavy swirling of guitars and synths. It then ends a little abruptly and goes into a nice, quasi-psychedelic feel for the introduction of the 18 minute epic "Parted Forever". Bruce continues with a laid back feeling and his quiet vocals join in to match the feeling of the song. But, with the rest of the album considered, by this time you are waiting for something explosive and interesting, so this laid back feeling starts to grow thin. Around the 5:20 minute mark, everything gets a little more tense, which is a welcome change. This goes until about 7 1/2 minute mark, and things back off again. Vocals return after a while, and more mid tempo floating guitar which can feel almost like Porcupine Tree, but again, the processed drums make it feel lacking in passion. The track continues like this for it's duration, with some minor builds and drop offs. It does tend to meander around a bit and you get that overall feeling that this is all you've been listening to from the beginning. It's easy to forget about the standout sections of the album which don't happen often enough.

Again, this is not a bad record, but it isn't essential for progressive music lovers. With the many albums Pineapple Thief have released over the years, things will get better, but it never really remains consistent either. There are some great moments, and there are some that are just too lackluster. But when they are great, they are really great.

Review by The Crow
3 stars Nowadays, it is not at all unreasonable to say that Bruce Soord is one of the main British minds dedicated to progressive music.

And the meteoric trajectory that he has taken with The Pineapple Thief in the last years is nothing but a confirmation of this fact. What began as a side project while he acted as a guitarist in Vulgar Unicorn, has become a band capable of extensive international tours and that counts among its ranks one of the best drummers of all time.

However, in "Abducted at Birth", as happened with Porcupine Tree in its beginnings, we have an album in which Soord acts as a one-man band, which, although it gives us really brilliant moments, still suffers from a lack of maturity and the weight that The Pineapple Thief currently possesses.

In any case, all fans of 90's British prog (especially Porcupine Tree) will surely enjoy this debut that, although it falls behind Soord's best works, is a remarkable one.

Best Tracks: Private Paradise (long but fun, and excellent guitar work towards the end), Drain (intense and with a great chorus) No One Leaves this Earth (good instrumental in the vein of Up the Downstairs) and Parted Forever (Soord proves here again that apart from being a talented songwriter, he is also a great guitar player)

My Rating: ***

Review by Dapper~Blueberries
4 stars The Pineapple Thief is a band I was kinda obsessed with back in early 2022, back before I listened to a lot more of this whole contemporary prog scene, aside from Steven Wilson and Porcupine Tree. To me, they were, and always will be, this enigmatic band that seemed to try something new each album, kinda like King Crimson or Motorpsycho. The difference between them and Pineapple Thief is that Pineapple Thief were less changing things on a dime, and instead were evolving, with each album practically being a completely different band, not in just members, but in attitude and general scope. Now, as I say this, everything has a starting point, and that starting point for The Pineapple Thief is their debut of Abducting The Unicorn, or what some may also call, Abducted At Birth, which is the title I will be using for this review.

At this stage in the group's career, practically it is just guitarist and lead singer Bruce Soord, though with Nick Lang and Mark Harris as backup for drums, keyboards, and bass. Bruce is the main guy though, with his acoustic (sometimes electronic) guitar, being the mainstay on most, if not all tracks. The album in its entirety also is less progressive rock in all facets, and more like a mixture of Radiohead levels of alt rock, meets with light prog twiddlings here and there. Heck, the album does get a bit more proggy near the end with the big 18 minute epic of Parted Forever, which is a really nice song.

The best thing I can say about this album is, of course, Bruce's guitar work. He is not like Robert Fripp or Steven Wilson levels of greatness, but I definitely think he delivers really well here. He has a knack for energy and tempo, and he checks all the boxes for a great guitarist, creating these moving, and very vibrant melodies that never get tiring to listen to, no matter when or how.

I also like Nick's drummings here, as they mix quite well with the more alt rock focused textures, and they complement Bruce's guitars extra well in my opinion. Really nice stuff.

Though, there really isn't much that makes me want to return to this album all that much, aside from the two big songs of Private Paradise and Parted Forever, both of which are fantastic, as I said before. It is mainly because I feel like the more shorter, alt rock focused tracks here do not quite play into their strengths all that much, and they kinda feel a little cookie cutter to me. There is definitely nothing wrong with them, but they kinda feel average, with no big changes to the formula of 90s alt rock that bands like Muse or Radiohead have already perfected, with the only exception being No One Leaves This Earth and Everyone Must Perish, which feel like stuff from completely different bands than what The Pineapple Thief dishes out.

I also am not a fan of Mark Harris' bass. It is very quiet, and I never really notice it, mostly due to how muted it is compared to the very high quality volume levels of the guitar and drums. He feels like a missed potential to me.

Overall, Abducted At Birth is a great, but slightly bare bones release. It has its weak spots, I give it that, but I think overall it is a serviceable experience for some nice contemporary progressive rock that is akin to Porcupine Tree and Gazpacho. Give it a looksee if you are interested in what early Pineapple Thief may have.

Latest members reviews

3 stars There's no doubt that Bruce Soord is one of the strongest and most consistent songwriters operating in that prog-leaning alt-rock niche, and he trumps the Yorkes and (just about) Wilsons with his guitar work, both rhythm and lead, if not in inspiration. Over the course of well over 10 hours of PINEA ... (read more)

Report this review (#2538463) | Posted by arriving | Wednesday, April 28, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Here is my first PT review, so I start with their first album...A solid rock album, Bruce Soord's music influences are quite clear, from Porcupine Tree, The Smashing Pumpkins to Radiohead, but his style is not defined on this opus. Good soloing on this album, nothing I dsilike but his voice soun ... (read more)

Report this review (#2238378) | Posted by fabien | Tuesday, July 16, 2019 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Once you start listening to the first song, you ask yourself: haven't I heard this band already before or something sounding similar? Yes, Smashing Pumpkins is the greatest influence here on almost all musicians - singing, drums and guitar. Most songs have similar drumming pattern which I really ... (read more)

Report this review (#2038008) | Posted by sgtpepper | Monday, September 24, 2018 | Review Permanlink

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 categori ... (read more)

Report this review (#113111) | Posted by Lazarus | Thursday, February 22, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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