★★★★ (4/5 stars)
Coming off the success from Magnolia in 2014, progressive rock band The Pineapple Thief have released their new record Your Wilderness on 12th August 2016. The public was given an insight into the record with the single ‘No Man’s Land’, which unlike most singles bands release is quite representative of the general direction of the record. Another change in the Pineapple Thief camp from their last record to this one is the addition of Gavin Harrison on drums. For people who have no clue about Harrison, he’s known for his wide-ranging work most famously with British progressive rock bands Porcupine Tree, and King Crimson. Although the direction of the record is largely the Pineapple Thief sound people know and love, Harrison’s influences and playing style gives it a unique quality which is unheard of in previous Pineapple Thief records.
At a time when making music that sounds unique is quite a monumental task, especially in the genre of progressive rock, Your Wilderness shows that Pineapple Thief can still transcend their musical boundaries to create something similar yet distinctive. Songs such as ‘In Exile’ and ‘Tear You Up’ experiment with moods and melodies previously untouched by the band in such a laid back manner. But at the same time, Bruce Soord’s angelic double octave harmonies guide the quintessential sound of the band with what can only be described as musical genius. At the same time, the album closer ‘The Final Thing On My Mind’ showcases the fruits of the collaboration between the band and Gavin Harrison. The 9 minute opus showcases Harrison at his strongest, with the incorporation of his signature Hi-hat and double bass – transcending the song writing to a completely different place. The production itself is relatively raw and uncompressed, which gives the record quite a dynamic quality.
It’s hard for me to pick a favorite from the record because all the songs are eloquently constructed and flow brilliantly. Steve Kitch and Jon Sykes don’t play anything fancy, but they play their respective instruments just right. While some people might think that the record is a bit repetitive, I think that this record introduces a mood which carries well across the collection of songs. Call it crystalline moments of melancholia or happiness, Your Wilderness is a record that proves that The Pineapple Thief have the power to invoke strong emotions and further, that they are very much at the peak of their songwriting abilities, which won’t go away anytime soon.