Here I sit, totally spoiled. I’m drinking a cup of coffee, listening to the wind whisper the many names of the Aspen, and watching the absurdly beautiful dance of the humming birds. It’s already a perfect day, and I’ve not even gone to Mass yet.
But, I’m here to write about the latest release from The Pineapple Thief, YOUR WILDERNESS (Kscope; out officially on August 12, 2016).
One would be foolish to dismiss the talent of Bruce Soord. The man is an audiophilic genius, and, when he produces or engineers an album, he’s every bit as good as Trevor Horn, Phill Brown, Rob Aubrey, and Steven Wilson. He definitely brings his own sound to whatever it is he does, as distinct and yet as beautiful as any of the producers mentioned above. His imprint on the first release of Matt Cohen’s Ghost Community is quite clear, and I’m presuming the same will be true for the second release of Zee Baig’s Fire Garden.
And, when Soord makes his own music, he can be simply outstanding. If one takes into account the last twenty years of music, it would be nearly impossible not to consider TIGHTLY UNWOUND an album of pop perfection, easily comparable to the best pop-prog of the past: from PET SOUNDS to FOG ELECTRIC. And, when it comes to moody, experimental prog, you need look no further than WHAT WE HAVE SOWN.
But, The Pineapple Thief has also produced a number of albums that while quite good, lack personality. ALL THE WARS and MAGNOLIA fit this description. Again, they’re quite good, but they’re a really bland kind of good. Nothing wrong or offensive, but nothing really exciting, either. My sense is one of mood and creativity. Soord seemed to swing rather dramatically from the inspired to the necessary.
Whatever the past, Soord’s latest The Pineapple Thief, YOUR WILDERNESS, has taken us back to the inspired. This is an album not only of beauty and creativity, but of true mystery—often breath-taking. At 42 minutes, it’s certainly not a long album. Indeed, by today’s standards, it’s just a little bigger than an EP. But, in those 42 minutes, Soord knows how to soar. Gavin Harrison is drumming, and it makes a world of difference. Indeed, Harrison and Soord seem to be twins separated at birth, and they certainly know exactly how to bring the best out of each other. I hope they continue to work together, at whatever level or in whatever band. They really are a natural (or supernatural pairing).
True to old The Pineapple Thief, Soord also integrates a number of classical elements as well—such as woodwinds and strings. The alternate shifting from the amplified to the chamber music is a striking element of the entire album. Perhaps it’s the title of the album, but I can’t help but think of hiking in the Rockies when I listen to this album. There are moments when a field of wildflowers amazes the senses, when the smell of pine and sage fills the entirety of your being, and when the spotting of the unpredictable brown bear at some distance heightens every sense. This is the best way I can explain YOUR WILDERNESS.
I’ve not said much about the lyrics, but Soord is always extraordinary when it comes to words. Truly, he is a wordsmith, and while his music—from time to time—might seem bland (not on this album!), his lyrics always pique the imagination.
We’re still about a month away from the official release date of the album, but you should definitely pre-order now. This is not only one of the finest releases of the year, it’s one of the finest releases in Soord’s career. And, this is no small praise!
- In Exile (05:40)
- No Man’s Land (04:20)
- Tear You Up (4:53)
- That Shore (04:36)
- Take Your Shot (04:34)
- Fend For Yourself (03:49)
- The Final Thing On My Mind (09:52)
- Where We Stood (03:46)