Exposé Online banner

Pineapple Thief — Variations on a Dream
(Cyclops CYCL 129, 2003, CD)

by Jon Davis, 2004-09-01:

Variations on a Dream Cover art

I hope I don’t turn anyone off by saying Pineapple Thief has as much in common with Radiohead, Coldplay, and Smashing Pumpkins as they do with anyone in the prog community. In my book, that’s not bad company to be in, since those bands have varying degrees of prog in them, as much in attitude as sound (except maybe Coldplay, but that’s another review for another magazine). On the arguably prog side, the closest comparison would be Porcupine Tree – there’s a spacious sound and sensuous melodic melancholy like Wilson & Co., though less of their heavy side. Vocalist Bruce Soord has a breathy tone in the quieter passages (enhancing the P. Tree impression), and in the more intense parts his voice takes on a quality much like a less nasal Thom Yorke or Billy Corgan. At any given time, the music is not likely to be complicated, but the arrangements give the tunes time to stretch out, with details of development and increasing tension that lift the music above straightforward pop. Adrian Soord’s lush keyboards (mostly Mellotron, Hammond, and Rhodes) provide timeless backing, but the band manages to incorporate some modern sounds without sounding gimmicky. I haven’t heard the band’s two previous albums, but this one certainly sounds good enough to get me interested in checking them out.


by Sean McFee, 2004-04-01:

Pineapple Thief hasn’t changed much since 137, and that’s a good thing. A quartet of guitar / keys / bass / drums, the songs are all written by Bruce Soord, who also sings and plays guitar. Brother Adrian contributes keys, while Mark Harris and Nick Lang constitute the rhythm section. The pieces here consist of song-based material of an often melancholy nature with more than a little alternative influence. Some tracks get to the eight minute mark, due mainly to the band’s willingness to set an atmosphere and then bathe the listener in it for a few minutes rather than the usual reason a prog song is long (i.e. multi-movement suites). There are some similarities to Radiohead and Porcupine Tree here, but to leave it at that sells the band short; as with the last album, I am amazed by Soord’s ability to write melodies that stick in your head. I usually don’t speculate as to deserved popularity, but I do not understand why this band is not more recognized, having a definite accessible quality but not being cheesy or maudlin. The main reason you would associate this with progressive rock is that it’s on Cyclops, it has the occasional longer composition, and the presence of analog keyboard gear (Mellotron, Hammond, etc.). That said, it’s less important to focus on which pigeonhole it fits in, and more important to answer the question: Does it sound good? To this writer it does.


by Paul Hightower, 2004-04-01:

I have to admit to being behind the curve on Pineapple Thief, though they are clearly the “next big thing” on the prog scene. To my mind, however, they are following a bit too closely in the wake of Porcupine Tree (are the similar names just a coincidence?), even down to the lineup that sports frontman / singer-guitarist Bruce Soord, his brother Adrian on keys, Mark Harris on bass, and Nick Lang on drums. This spin-off of Vulgar Unicorn now has several releases under its belt and is starting to make some noise on the other side of the pond where comparisons are being made to major names like Coldplay and Radiohead. On these ten tracks the group cuts an art / prog-pop path of angst, melancholia, and shoegazer sensibility with song titles like “Run Me Through” and “The Bitter Pill.” The ten basic songs are deliberately simplistic, allowing the emotion and drama in the arrangements to give each its power. It’s a well-proven formula, even down to the use of strings and brass, best demonstrated in the opener, “We Subside,” and the instrumental “Resident Alien.” Keys are sparingly used with voice and acoustic guitar usually providing the core building block of each composition. A range of styles are covered from Smashing Pumpkins edginess in “This Will Remain Unspoken” to P-Tree dreaminess in “Vapour Trails” to Anekdoten’s intensity in the epic “Remember Us.” Though I think others do this kind of thing better, fans of the aforementioned bands should still give this a listen.


Filed under: New releases , Issue 29 , 2003 releases

Related artist(s): The Pineapple Thief, Bruce Soord

More info

Latest news

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Nektar - Unidentified Flying Abstract – Nektar occupies a somewhat awkward place in the history of progressive rock. They don't fit in with the symphonic style of Yes or Genesis, and they're not as elaborate as King Crimson or...  (2006) » Read more

Wapassou - Messe en Ré Mineur, Salammbô & Ludwig – Wapassou was a unique classically influenced French band that existed from around 1971 through the mid-80s (their last release was in 1986). These three — their second, third and fourth albums...  (1994) » Read more

Proto-Kaw - Wait of Glory – The history of Proto-Kaw has to be one of the greatest second-chance stories in the history of rock. The band made some demos between 1971-1973, but broke up shortly afterwards when Kerry Livgren...  (2006) » Read more

Talisma - Chromium – This instrumental trio from Québec specializes in the kind of complex, tightly arranged music that some people love and others can’t tolerate. I suppose there must be a third group...  (2006) » Read more

Rick Biddulph - Second Nature – If his name is a mite familiar, perhaps it should be. Biddulph is a multi-instrumentalist who had been a roadie and sound engineer for several Canterbury bands (Hatfield among them) before joining the...  (1997) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues