Pineapple Thief — Variations on a Dream
(Cyclops CYCL 129, 2003, CD)
by Jon Davis, 2004-09-01:
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 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.
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.
Related artist(s): The Pineapple Thief
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more