Mini-Review: The Pineapple Thief’s 137
Continuing its series of top-quality reissues of The Pineapple Thief’s back catalog, Kscope Music has just released their sophomore effort, One Three Seven. It’s a surprisingly mature and accomplished set of songs. Bruce Soord’s vocals are reminiscent of Thom Yorke’s, but distinctive enough to not be derivative. The first track, “Lay On The Tracks” and the sixth, “Ster”, are among the poppiest songs he’s ever written. “Perpetual Night Shift” features a laconic melody with a droning bass line. I like it a lot. “Kid Chameleon” was included on the 2009 compilation 3000 Days, and it is outstanding. In it, Soord channels David Gilmour for an exquisite guitar solo that perfectly complements a memorable song. “Release the Tether” is an instrumental raveup that is relentless in its drive.
There isn’t a single clunker among the thirteen tracks, but the highlight is the nearly twelve-minute track, “pvs”, which begins with a beautiful acoustic setting, transforms into Led Zep heaviness, and ends with a classically styled piano/cello/guitar coda.
Originally performed, recorded, and mixed by Soord between June 2000 and March 2001, 137 is fascinating to listen to as a document of him developing his minimalist technique of composition. My initial impression is one of immediacy – Soord is a man with something to prove, and he isn’t afraid to get in your face, both musically and lyrically. The album features some of his most aggressive guitar work, along with lyrics like this:
it’s taking a while he said
keep shouting at the wall
never get out, he said
unless you take the fall
taking too long, i said
i cannot climb this wall
it’s taking too long, i said
watch me as i fall….
If you’ve not heard The Pineapple Thief, 137 is an excellent entry point. It nicely balances Bruce Soord’s deft pop touch with his heavier side. Having a length of more than 70 minutes, this is a lot of music to absorb, but it never drags. And hey, you have to admire a band that uses a Fermat spiral for the cover art!