The Pineapple Thief – Your Wilderness – Album Review

Pineapple cover

Artist: The Pineapple Thief

Album Title: Your Wilderness

Label: Kscope

Date Of Release: 12 August 2016

If I’m being honest, I knew very little about The Pineapple Thief until a couple of years ago, when the mastermind behind the band, Bruce Soord, teamed up with Katatonia vocalist Jonas Renkse to deliver the delicious Wisdom Of Crowds record. I interviewed both Soord and Renkse about this release, getting to know a bit more about The Pineapple Thief in the process.

This duly led to a voyage of discovery and the realisation that, in Pineapple Thief, here was another great band, entirely worthy of my attention. Taking their cue these days from the end of the prog spectrum that also plays host to the likes of Radiohead, Porcupine Tree and their ilk, The Pineapple Thief’s more recent output tends towards heavily atmospheric, moody and more subtle progressive music as opposed to the ‘let’s play as many notes and scales as we can’ school of prog.

‘Your Wilderness’ is The Pinapple Thief’s eleventh album and prior to getting my own ears around it, I had heard some very positive noises from other reviewers. I was therefore expecting to hear something good. And I haven’t been left disappointed either.

I’m still not perhaps sufficiently versed in The Pineapple Thief’s back catalogue to be able to make a worthwhile comment about where it stands against previous albums, particularly when, as a latecomer, the progression of the band is so marked. However, it is fair to say that ‘Your Wilderness’ is one of the smoothest and ‘softest’ of the band’s 17-year career but within which unquestionably sits some of my very favourite moments from the Somerset-based band.

The Pineapple Thief is today comprised of Soord himself who handles the guitar and vocal duties alongside longstanding bassist Jon Sykes and keyboardist Steve Kitch as well as Porcupine Tree’s Gavin Harrison perched on the drum stool.

Credit: Unknown

Credit: Unknown

It takes precisely 10 seconds of opener ‘In Exile’ to understand the flavour and direction of ‘Your Wilderness’. A lone drum beat opens the song before the swathes of haunting and moody yet understated keyboards offer plenty of depth and atmosphere. Nicely nuanced bass work enhances the rhythmic output, whilst the unmistakeably smooth tones of Soord breeze in and out of track, adding much in terms of melody and sophistication.

‘No Man’s Land’ is an instant favourite of mine. It is built around a picked acoustic guitar melody that is then joined by a solemn piano and quietly-delivered introspective vocals. At least that’s where it begins, because as the song develops, so does a sense of urgency and menace which finally explodes in the latter stages. The drumming from Harrison is really great, injecting a sense of increasing tension before heavier guitars enter the fray, underlining Soord’s more metallic credentials.

In contrast, ‘Tear You Up’ begins in much more overtly heavy territory, more in keeping with other records. I hear a touch of Muse or even Coheed And Cambria in the song but more so, I hear a great individual instrumental performances and super dynamics created by an intelligent variation in tempo and heaviness. It’s then topped off by a chorus melody that lingers long in the memory.

Another high point on ‘Your Wilderness’ comes in the shape of ‘That Shore’, an utterly gorgeous and sensitive track that, on paper, I might have skipped or at least had little interest in. And yet, the more modern-sounding electronic stylings of this composition are utterly beguiling, leading to a powerfully emotive and insidiously compelling piece of music with echoes of latter-day Katatonia within it.

Speaking of music which has an insidious quality, look no further than ‘Take Your Shot’ which may be more mainstream-sounding in many ways thanks to a demonstrable indie/alternative swagger but is another example of the power of a strong chorus, atmosphere and lead guitar embellishments that get right under my skin.

And I have to mention ‘The Final Thing On My Mind’ which, at nearly ten minutes in length, is the longest composition on the record by a long way. However, it is a track that fully justifies the extended life in that it manages to move beautifully from section to section with an incredible smoothness within an overall framework that allows a pronounced ebb and flow, not to mention further noteworthy performances from all concerned.

The more I listen to ‘Your Wilderness’, the more I like it and the more I want to listen to it. There is so much to discover within the entire album and I’m finding new, subtle moments of interest and intrigue every time I press play. With ‘Your Wilderness’, The Pineapple Thief are at the top of their collective game and eloquently demonstrate that you don’t have to go at one hundred miles an hour or play every note in the book to create sophisticated and intelligent music.

The Score Of Much Metal: 8.5

If you’ve enjoyed this review, check out my others via my reviews pages or by clicking the links right here:

Evergrey – The Storm Within
Dream The Electric Sleep – Beneath The Dark Wide Sky
Periphery – ‘Periphery III: Select Difficulty’
Karmakanic – Dot
Novena – Secondary Genesis
Witherscape – The Northern Sanctuary
Eric Gillette – The Great Unknown
Tilt – Hinterland
Cosmograf – The Unreasonable Silence
Fates Warning – Theories Of Flight
Wolverine – Machina Viva
Be’lakor – Vessels
Lacuna Coil – Delirium
Big Big Train – Folklore
Airbag – Disconnected
Katatonia – The Fall Of Hearts
Frost* – Falling Satellites
Glorior Belli – Sundown (The Flock That Welcomes)
Habu – Infinite
Grand Magus ‘Sword Songs’
Messenger – Threnodies
Svoid – Storming Voices Of Inner Devotion
Fallujah – Dreamless
In Mourning – Afterglow
Haken – Affinity
Long Distance Calling – Trips
October Tide – Winged Waltz
Odd Logic – Penny For Your Thoughts
Iron Mountain – Unum
Knifeworld – Bottled Out Of Eden
Novembre – Ursa
Beholder – Reflections
Neverworld – Dreamsnatcher
Universal Mind Project – The Jaguar Priest
Thunderstone – Apocalypse Again
InnerWish – Innerwish
Mob Rules – Tales From Beyond
Ghost Bath – Moonlover
Spiritual Beggars – Sunrise To Sundown
Oceans Of Slumber – Winter
Rikard Zander – I Can Do Without Love
Redemption – The Art Of Loss
Headspace – All That You Fear Is Gone
Chris Quirarte – Mending Broken Bridges
Sunburst – Fragments Of Creation
Inglorious – Inglorious
Omnium Gatherum – Grey Heavens
Structural Disorder – Distance
Votum – Ktonik
Fleshgod Apocalypse – King
Rikard Sjoblom – The Unbendable Sleep
Textures – Phenotype
Serenity – Codex Atlanticus
Borknagar – Winter Thrice
The Mute Gods – Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me
Brainstorm – Scary Creatures
Arcade Messiah – II
Phantasma – The Deviant Hearts
Rendezvous Point – Solar Storm
Vanden Plas – Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld II
Antimatter – The Judas Table
Bauda – Sporelights
Waken Eyes – Exodus
Earthside – A Dream In Static
Caligula’s Horse – Bloom
Teramaze – Her Halo
Amorphis – Under The Red Cloud
Spock’s Beard – The Oblivion Particle
Agent Fresco – Destrier
Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction
Between The Buried And Me – Coma Ecliptic
Cradle Of Filth – Hammer Of The Witches
Disarmonia Mundi – Cold Inferno
District 97 – In Vaults
Progoctopus – Transcendence
Big Big Train – Wassail
NightMare World – In The Fullness Of Time
Helloween – My God-Given Right
Triaxis – Zero Hour
Isurus – Logocharya
Arcturus – Arcturian
Kamelot – Haven
Native Construct – Quiet World
Sigh – Graveward
Pantommind – Searching For Eternity
Subterranean Masquerade – The Great Bazaar
Klone – Here Comes The Sun
The Gentle Storm – The Diary
Melechesh – Enki
Enslaved – In Times
Keep Of Kalessin – Epistemology
Lonely Robot – Please Come Home
The Neal Morse Band – The Grand Experiment
Zero Stroke – As The Colours Seep
AudioPlastik – In The Head Of A Maniac
Revolution Saints – Revolution Saints
Mors Principium Est – Dawn of The 5th Era
Arcade Messiah – Arcade Messiah
Triosphere – The Heart Of The Matter
Neonfly – Strangers In Paradise
Knight Area – Hyperdrive
Haken – Restoration
James LaBrie – Impermanent Resonance
Mercenary – Through Our Darkest Days
A.C.T. – Circus Pandemonium
Xerath – III
Big Big Train – English Electric (Part 1)
Thought Chamber – Psykerion
Marcus Jidell – Pictures From A Time Traveller
H.E.A.T – Tearing Down The Walls
Vanden Plas – Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld

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