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!

2 thoughts on “Mini-Review: The Pineapple Thief’s 137

  1. Nice review Tad ..you ‘pushed ‘ me to listen to it again…I agree its a good introduction showing his light and heavy side…its mainly power-pop to me. My favourite tracks are Doppler; Release The Tether and PVS…Doppler rolls into a nice mellow vibe/groove and all three are laden with typical Soord catchy guitar riffs.
    I went to see TPT last year at a tiny venue in Camden.London. He played mainly from All The Wars and Someone Here is Missing…if he’s guilty of one thing its repetition…a lot of his melodies are quite samey (more so on the last two albums) and my colleaugue and I found that quite noticeable. One audience member (there couldn’t have been more than 70 or 80!) asked him to play his 27min epic ‘What We Have Sown’…that got a few laughs (including Bruce)…shame because its an excellent track !
    Ian

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    1. Ian,
      Thanks for the kind words! This reissue is the first chance I’ve had to hear 137, and I have really been enjoying it. But I love power pop when I’m in the mood for it. You’re exactly right about the repetitive nature of his music – and it’s gotten more pronounced on the later albums.

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