Before I start my review, I should mention that I have not listened to any of The Pineapple Thief (Bruce Soord’s band) before. Progarchy’s Brad Birzer asked if I was interested in doing a review, and I thought “Why the heck not.” Perhaps, this will be made interesting by someone with fresh ears.
This is Soord’s first solo album, appropriately self-titled. At first I listened straight through the album (only 40 minutes) and was surprised to learn that this isn’t really prog, at least in the traditional sense. I am a man with many musical tastes but at first listen, it seemed too simple and slow to grab my attention. It wasn’t until multiple listens that some tracks moved me such as “Buried Here”, “A Thousand Daggers”, “Born in Delusion”, and “Familiar Patterns”.
“Buried Here” and “Born in Delusion” tie for my favorite tracks on the album. While there’s nothing out of the ordinary or original in “Buried Here”, the melody is pleasant while haunting, and reminds me of some of the more mellow Blur songs, perhaps something from their 2003 album “Think Tank”. Bruce Soord’s vocals actually reminds me of Blur’s Damon Albarn with a little of Steven Wilson thrown in. “Born in Delusion” is another haunting piece here, which suckered me in by its neat 10/8 meter. Lyrically, I felt most connected to “Field Day Part 1” and “Field Day Part 2”. Even though Soord split it up into two tracks, (the first one running 3:15 and the second one only 1:50) to me, it seems like the same piece, where “Part 2” is an encouraging mantra, in reaction to the observations/ feelings in “Part 1”.
Listening to the album the third and forth time straight through, I began to understand its simplicity. The entire album does seem to have a nice arc to it, basically starting with an introduction piece so opposite of prog, it’s as if Soord is saying “Hey guys, this is just me and I’m going to do something way different now.” The album ends fittingly with an epic song “Leaves Leave Me”. And when I say epic, I mean epic in terms of the scale that has been standardized by the rest of the album, in length (5 min 21 secs), and in instruments/sounds (background vocals, children playing), but then just ends suddenly without resolve, which I thought was peculiar.
So overall I liked it, but I can’t see myself listening to it again and again, like I obsessively do with many other works. While not bad by any means, I’m guessing this album will have more to offer fans of The Pineapple Thief and Soord’s other projects, such as his collaboration with Jonas Renske for Wisdom of Crowds (which I also have not heard).
Perhaps I have some homework to do.